A new art gallery will broaden cultural opportunities while giving students the chance to learn all facets of museum and gallery work.
The Borzello Gallery opened in the Ford Center for Fine Arts during Homecoming weekend with an exhibit featuring the work of Keith Achepohl '56.
"This gallery allows the college to host visiting exhibits in a secure and technologically sophisticated space and also provides hands-on experiences for our students," said Knox College President Teresa Amott at the dedication ceremony for the gallery.
Greg Gilbert, professor of art history, sees the gallery as a working laboratory, where students will be trained in all facets of museum and gallery work, from curatorial research to the designing of didactics (descriptive text that accompanies the art), and the physical design and installation of exhibits.
Gilbert says that currently, the major growth in art history careers is in the museum field, not-for-profit art centers, and commercial galleries. "This space is going to really open up a lot of professional opportunities for our students," he said. "Not only is this program going to be in keeping with what's going on in the larger museum field, but it's very much in keeping with Knox's emphasis on immersive learning. I'm really looking forward to what we can do with this gallery."
Ruth Holmes '18 chose to stay at Knox an extra year to gain more experience in museum work. A double major in studio art and art history, Holmes applied for a Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship with Special Collections and Archives so that she could work with the College's art collection and assist in preparing the opening exhibit.
Knox has more than 80 works by Keith Achepohl, a leading American printmaker whose work has appeared at the Art Institute of Chicago and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Holmes pulled the works from archives and did research on each piece so that Gilbert could choose works that were representative of each major phase of Achepohl's career for the exhibit. Holmes then helped prepare the works for display, which included the matting of 21 of the 40 pieces chosen for the exhibit.
Holmes came to Knox because of the Whitcomb Art Center. "I knew it would be an amazing place for me to grow as an artist and the art faculty here are amazing. There are so many opportunities and I feel like I've been able to thrive here."
While she didn't consider collections management when she came to Knox, Holmes sees it as a perfect fit for her interests. "I want to continue in collections management and work to put shows together like this."
The Borzello Gallery is named for Bob Borzello '58, who funded the project. Borzello managed and edited one of the first American "supermarket tabloids" and has since founded and managed a graphic arts company, book publisher, and charity supporting educational and social causes. In addition to funding the gallery, Borzello has supported Knox's journalism department, intergroup dialogue program, expanded student counseling services, and funded the purchase of Borzello Hall.