reporter contentsalbright college
It is hard to believe that it has only been six months since I started working for the Center for the Arts (CFA) at Albright College. On one hand, it seems like such a short time considering all the exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical performances that already have come and gone, but on the other hand, it seems like I have been here for a much longer time, mainly because Albright feels like, well, it feels like home. This sentiment seems to be shared by many faculty, staff, students and alumni. I have had great jobs before, so, when I say this is the best job I have ever had, that really means something.
One of the great things about the CFA is that it offers experiences in every artistic area: fine art, music, theatre, dance, digital media, film, photography and fashion. On a Monday, I might be writing a grant for music. On a Tuesday, I may be leading a tour in the gallery and working on a playbill for the next Domino Players production. While the work never ends, it's never dull either, and it's always rewarding. Take, for instance, the recent exhibition at the Freedman Gallery.
Gender Matters/Matters of Gender drew nearly 200 visitors for the opening on March 24 and was the Freedman Gallery's first international, juried
This was an important step for the Freedman. Not only did the exhibition reengage a number of past supporters and friends, it also was forward thinking.
This year the Freedman Gallery, along with the Music Department and the Domino Players, focused on "Women and the Arts," a celebration of female creators, innovators, and dynamic forces in the cultural arena. But Gender Matters redefined the focus as a women and the arts show to one of gender that was inclusive of all artists. It exhibited works by artists of both sexes who work from a consciousness of how gender is reflected in art, how the artist's gender influences her or his medium, and how gender often affects the circumstances in which the artist creates.
The show included a range of artists exhibiting some provocative works such as those dealing with gender reassignment or transgender issues and concepts. Among them were Lauren Gillette's crystal studded, hand-painted, motorcycle jacket detailing the conversion of Carl Hammonds to stripper Hedy Jo Star and Jess Dugan's suite of three photographs of bare-chested individuals who have completed female to male gender reassignment.
The exhibition also engaged current students in a way we haven't seen recently. In fact, many students and faculty commented that this was one of the most accessible and most exciting shows we've had in recent years. First, by showing so many different artists and types of media, there was something for almost everyone to like.
Second, because the theme of this exhibition was more challenging and some of the works themselves presented controversial imagery, the staff chose to install the exhibit less like a gallery with only labels as didactic information and more like a museum. To add to the experience, we added questions, applying them in large letters directly to the wall to help group artworks with a shared theme. We carefully crafted our questions and chose a soft grey color, placing them higher up than standard, so as to suggest rather than direct visitors to a certain conclusion. For example, with the dozen artworks that dealt with feminists themes we asked questions like, "Can a pretty man be masculine?" We also posted sleek aluminum clipboards on which folks could leave us answers.
There is more wonderful, provocative and creative art on the way, including
We hope you will visit us soon at the Freedman Gallery, or take in a
To learn more about David Tanner, check out his blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education at
reporter contentsalbright college