The Gund Gallery is taking residence hall decor to the next level with its newest project, an art-lending program that allows students to hang gallery pieces in their rooms for a semester.
Gund Gallery Director Natalie Marsh said the idea for the project, which launched in February, came from Kenyon alumni who noticed similar programs at a handful of other schools, including Oberlin College.
The program, open only to Kenyon students and supported by the Office of Residential Life, features a collection of artwork including floral lithographs by Clarence Morgan and abstract work from Elizabeth Dworkin characterized by bright colors and shapes. Thirty-eight students were awarded artwork through a lottery system.
Elizabeth Norman ’16 of Baltimore was the third in line to select an artwork during a recent reception at the gallery. Norman chose a Clarence Holbrook Carter piece titled Nude in Motion. The work features the female figure in minimalist blocks of orange and red. “I was surprised that I was selected and that I was third because I never win anything,” Norman said.
All pieces are appraised at $2,500 or less. Many of the available pieces were donated by Graham Gund ’63 H’81 and his wife, Ann, specifically for the program. Marsh expects alumni will donate other works as the program gains momentum.
Assistant Director Christopher Yates and Collections Manager Robin Goodman are ensuring the art is treated properly when borrowed and are paying close attention to how the works are framed so they are protected as much as possible.
Yates said students will get a feel for the responsibility of taking care of artwork. “It’s about how you live with real works of art in your home and enjoy it and care for it,” he said.
Students must sign loan agreements, stating they will abide by certain expectations. If pieces are damaged, students must cover repair costs. “We make sure there are certain things they know not to do,” Yates said. “Don’t spray it with Windex. Don’t have it in direct sunlight.”
Students worked with pairs of gallery student associates, who have experience hanging art for exhibitions, to install the works. Amelia Barnes ’16 was one of the associates involved in the installation process. “It’s obviously a little scary. I’m glad we’re not the first place to do an art loan project,” she said. “I’m confident that Kenyon can compete with Oberlin in terms of responsibility.”
Increasing student engagement with the Gund Gallery and fostering a sense of responsibility toward art is at the core of the program. “It’s a cool relationship builder between the gallery and students,” Barnes said. “This is a really great opportunity for the Gund Gallery to come into people’s homes.”
– By Bailey Blaker ’18 and Elana Spivack ’17