Wilson Museum Presents “20th Century Photographs from the Rugaber Collection,” Feb. 21 – April 28

More than 50 black-and-white works by prominent photographers are featured in the exhibition 20th Century Photographs from the Rugaber Collection, which will be on display Feburary 21 – April 28 in the Main Gallery of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University.

Loaned to the museum by Walter and Sally Rugaber, the collection includes historic landscape, architectural, and portrait photography from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) program instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to promote effective photojournalism. Many of the images have become icons of American photography.

The FSA was created in 1937 as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal and was intended to provide technical assistance to farmers and catalyze sustainable agriculture. The policy employed photographers to visit communities across the country and document the everyday life and deprivation of families and laborers affected by the Great Depression. The program resulted in some of the most influential photographs of the period, sending shock waves throughout the nation. FSA photographers in the exhibit include Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Marion Post Wolcott, and others.

Among the documentary and journalistic photography on view are images of wearied American child laborers at work. These photographs galvanized citizens and politicians alike to strengthen labor laws and pass the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are also images that document citizens in prominent civil rights protests and demonstrations.

Other highlights of the exhibit include photographs of French and British cathedrals and street scenes that capture a glimpse of an urban environment before the onset of modernization. In contrast, the exhibit also showcases landscape photography, much of it Southern-based, including works by Hollins alumna Sally Mann, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Paul Caponigro.

Walter and Sally Rugaber are longtime supporters of the arts in the Roanoke Valley and have lived in southwest Virginia since 1982, during which time Walter Rugaber worked as publisher and president of The Roanoke Times and Landmark Publishing Group. Additionally, he served on the Hollins Board of Trustees from 1993 – 2007, and was interim president of the university in 2001 – 2002. The Rugabers purchased their first photograph from the FSA era on a visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and note, “We certainly didn’t intend to become ‘collectors’…somewhere in there we decided we loved those scenes from the 1930s and wanted more of them.”

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Wilson Museum will  present a lecture and reception with Denise Bethel, former chairman of Photographs Americas at Sotheby’s, New York, on Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m. in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

This exhibit is sponsored in part by the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.

 

Image: Marion Post Wolcott, Bayou Bourbeaux Plantation, 1940. Gelatin silver print. Collection of Walter and Sally Rugaber. Photo by Kyra Schmidt. 


Wilson Museum’s New Exhibition Showcases 2019 Artist-In-Residence

Hollins University’s 2019 Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence is renowned for her images of family members, co-workers, friends, and herself – intense, honest, larger-than-life, close-range portraits.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is featuring an exhibition of Diane Edison’s work in the Ballator-Thompson Gallery from January 17 through April 28.

Edison says she “came around to the idea of painting portraits as a way of finding myself,” and creates her art using color pencil on black paper. The intricately detailed works draw the viewer in for scrutiny, and offer an extreme psychological and physical depiction of the people within her circle. She earned her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1976 and her M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. She has been a member of the Lamar Dodd School of Art faculty since 1992. Her college textbook, Dynamic Color Painting for the Beginner, was published in New York City and the United Kingdom in 2008 and has since been produced in Spanish and Chinese language editions.

Edison’s New York exhibitions have included the Forum Gallery, DC Moore Gallery, and the Tatischef Gallery. Her work has also been shown in the American Embassies in Russia and Chad; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea; and other venues in the U.S. and abroad. She is a past recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Award and the Georgia Women in the Arts Recognition Award.

Established by an anonymous donor in 1997, the endowed Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence program allows Hollins to bring a nationally recognized artist to campus each academic year. In residence during the spring semester, the visiting artist creates work in a campus studio and teaches an art seminar open to all students.

Located in the Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.


Wilson Museum to Highlight “Images of Social Justice”

A new exhibition at Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is shining the spotlight on concerns related to race, gender, citizenship, culture wars, and the abuse of power.

Images of Social Justice from the Segura Arts Studio, which is on display at the Wilson Museum from September 13 through December 9, features 37 prints created by 17 visiting artists who in their own style tackle either human, animal, or land rights issues.

Joe Segura, who has dedicated his life’s work to working with and promoting artists from underrepresented cultural groups, founded the Segura Publishing Company in 1981 in Tempe, Arizona. He was drawn to marginalized artists: women, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. In 2013, the University of Notre Dame invited him to move his workshop to South Bend, Indiana. Under a new name, Segura Arts Studio, the master printer and publisher dovetailed the studio’s activities with those of academic departments at Notre Dame. He launched a program called “Social Justice in the Visual Arts” that engages incoming students in print workshop activities, including the opportunity to learn collaborative process and meet visiting artists.

Most of the prints in the Wilson Museum exhibition have been created since the move to Indiana. These include:

  • A black and white lino-cut by Elizabeth Catlett titled Mimi
  • Sue Coe’s lithography titled La Frontera
  • Luis Jiminez’s lithograph titled Entre la Puta y Muerta
  • Mixed media works that pair image and text by Luis Gonzales Palma
  • Black and white photogravures by Graciela Dicochea

The first artist to visit the new space in 2013 was Claudia Bernardi. Earlier that year, the International Committee of the Red Cross asked her to conduct and facilitate a collaborative community-based project with youth affected by violence. Later, she was invited to Segura Arts Studio to create a suite of prints. The series, Palabras de Arena/Words of Sand, was inspired by stories she heard and observations she made while working with these children and their community.

Bernardi will discuss how her human rights work informs her creative art work on Wednesday, September 26, at 6 p.m. in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center Auditorium. An opening reception for Images of Social Justice from the Segura Arts Studio will follow.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.

 

Photo caption: Claudia Bernardi, one of the artists whose work is featured in Images of Social Justice, speaks at the Wilson Museum on September 26.

 


Wilson Museum Celebrates the Work of Roanoke Artist Eric Fitzpatrick

Born and raised in Roanoke, Eric Fitzpatrick is among southwest Virginia’s most beloved artists, renowned for his paintings of landmark buildings, local hangouts, street scenes. and area musicians and personalities. His work is in private, corporate, and museum collections throughout the United States and worldwide.

From July 12 – September 23, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is presenting Eric Fitzpatrick: Southern Culture Series, an exhibition reflecting the artist’s creativity over more than 35 years.

Fascinated by the way Southerners are taught to view their past, Fitzpatrick turns his characteristic style to exploring those defining stereotypes in his Southern Culture Series. Bordering on caricature, this work exaggerates these stereotypes, forcing the viewer to confront their own (often unconscious) assumptions.

Located in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. Admission is free.

 


Wilson Museum Exhibition Highlights the Artwork of “Four Fur Feet”

Partnering with a local nonprofit that promotes reading to children, three Hollins professors in 2017 transformed an unpublished work by a beloved children’s author and Hollins alumna into an interactive tool for parents and caregivers.

Now, ten original gouache paintings by acclaimed children’s illustrator Ruth Sanderson along with sketches and a storyboard for the book will be featured in the exhibition “Four Fur Feet: A Hollins Collaborative Early Literacy Project,” which will be on display at Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, May 31 – September 2.

Written by Margaret Wise Brown ’32, author of such children’s classics as Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, the Four Fur Feet manuscript was discovered in the university archives and developed into an educational book by Associate Professor of Education Anna Baynum and Assistant Professor of Psychology Tiffany Pempek, co-directors of the Early Literacy Project at Hollins. Sanderson, who has illustrated over 80 children’s books and is co-director of the M.F.A. program in children’s book writing and illustrating, was asked by Baynum and Pempek to create pictures for the book.

Hollins and Turn the Page, a Roanoke-based organization whose mission is increasing awareness of the benefits of reading with children during the first three years of life, subsequently gave Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital 5,000 free copies of Four Fur Feet to be distributed to every mom who delivers a baby there.

“Four Fur Feet: A Hollins Collaborative Early Literacy Project” can be seen in the Wilson Museum’s Main Gallery. The museum will host an opening reception and book signing on Friday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Wetherill Visual Arts Center’s first floor lobby.

The Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free and open to the public.

 

 


Artist-in-Residence is Powerful Visual Activist, LGBT Advocate

The 2017 winner of France’s top cultural honor will be teaching students, exhibiting her work, and leading a special symposium on the Hollins campus this spring.

South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi will be Hollins’ 2018 Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence during the university’s Spring Term, which begins January 31. The Artist-in-Residence program enables Hollins to bring a recognized artist to campus every year.  While in residence, they work in a campus studio and teach an art seminar open to all students. During their time at Hollins, the artist-in-residence is a vital part of the campus and greater Roanoke community.

Muholi has earned international acclaim for her efforts to document South Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2017, her work has been shown in galleries and museums in New York, Cape Town, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. She is perhaps best known for her ongoing series and self-described “lifetime project” Faces and Phases, which includes black-and-white photographs of lesbian and trans South Africans. The series began in 2006 and was the basis for a 2014 book that featured 258 images from the project’s first eight years.

A new book of 100 self-portraits, Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, is scheduled for publication in April 2018. In November 2017, she was actively involved in New York City’s Performa 17, “a leader in commissioning artists whose work has collectively shaped a new chapter in the multi-century legacy of visual artists working in live performance.”

Muholi has earned numerous awards, most recently and most notably France’s Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) for 2017, which recognizes those who have “distinguished themselves in the domain of artistic or literary creation or for the contribution they have made to art and literature in France and the world.” Upon receiving the honor, Muholi stated, “We work hard to create content that scholars and the rest of the world are able to use to highlight the many challenges faced by the LGBT communities….[It] is important to make sure that we unite the LGBT community so that people know that we too exist as professionals and as creators of great content.” Other honors include the 2016 Infinity Award from New York’s International Center of Photography, which recognizes major contributions and emerging talent in the fields of photojournalism, art, fashion photography, and publishing.

Highlighting Muholi’s residency at Hollins will be an exhibition of her work in the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, February 8 – April 22. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will open with a presentation by Muholi on Thursday, February 8, at 6 p.m.

Muholi will also headline a symposium, “Becoming Visible – A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Lives,” on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center. In addition to programs with Muholi, Boy Erased author Garrard Conley, and local  LGBTQ+ activist Gregory Rosenthal, the symposium will include a screening of the documentary film Born This Way and an open microphone session where members of the audience can comment and share stories.

“Zanele focuses chiefly on the black South African LGBTQIA+ community,” said Sinazo Chiya of the Stevenson gallery in South Africa, “but the significance of her work reverberates outwards to celebrate queer and marginalised communities the world over, which is crucial in our turbulent and often divisive social climate.”

Muholi is represented by the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City.

 

 

 


Wilson Museum Presents “Susan King: Chronicles of a Southern Feminist”

The work of pioneering feminist artist Susan King is the subject of a new exhibition at Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

“Susan King: Chronicles of a Southern Feminist” is on display in the museum’s Ballator-Thompson Gallery, January 4 – April 8.

Known both for her writing and her skillful bookmaking, King moved to Southern California in the 1970s to be part of the experimental Feminist Studio Workshop and taught one of the first Women and Art courses in the United States at the University of New Mexico in 1973. She went on to become the studio director of the Women’s Graphic Center at the Woman’s Building. King has since returned to her southern roots, and much of her work is influenced by southern oral tradition and history. In addition to writing about place, she continues to create books and ephemera in her home studio in Lexington, Kentucky, and lectures, teaches workshops, and completes artist residencies at art centers and universities throughout the country.

King’s work is in major collections including the Harvard University Library; The Getty Center Research Institute Library and the Otis College of Art and Design Library in Los Angeles; the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris; New York’s Museum of Modern Art Library; and the Victoria and Albert Museum Library in London.

Admission to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is always free and open to the public.

 

 

 


Islamic Art Loan Immerses Students in Object-Based Learning

Professor of Art Kathleen Nolan’s Islamic Art class is engaging in hands-on research with rare artifacts from the Near East, thanks to a loan of decorative objects from a West Virginia museum to Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

The Wilson Museum borrowed objects from the Huntington Museum of Art’s extensive collection of Near Eastern art, including rugs, pouring vessels, a traveling scribe set, a dish, a manuscript page firman, and bath sandals that date as far back as the 11th and 12th centuries and originated in Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

Islamic Art Class 1

“I am a big advocate of object-based learning and wanted Hollins students to have the opportunity to work with objects from the Near East. But, we didn’t have any in our permanent collection,” explains Jenine Culligan, curator and director of the Wilson Museum. Prior to coming to Hollins, Culligan was chief curator for 15 years at the Huntington Museum of Art and in 2010 was instrumental in working with Joseph and Omayma Touma on cataloging 400 Near Eastern objects they had donated to the museum. Culligan made arrangements to borrow eight of the objects through mid-December.

“When I found out that Professor Nolan was teaching an Islamic Art class,” she continues, “I broached the idea of allowing the students in the class to do research on these objects.”

NoIslamic Art Class 2lan praises Culligan for her efforts to make the objects available to her class. “The students and I are thrilled to have these. There was great excitement in the vault of the Wilson Museum when we got to experience these objects first-hand.”

Soon after coordinating the research initiative with Nolan, Culligan was approached by Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch about displaying the objects as part of the Appalachia Model Arab League Conference that Hollins is hosting November 10 -12. They will be on view during the conference in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center along with additional Near Eastern objects on loan from the Roanoke community.

“These collaborations between the Wilson Museum and the art history department and the museum and the political science department seemed meant to be,” Culligan says.

 

Photos: Led by Wilson Museum Curator and Director Jenine Culligan, students from Professor Kathleen Nolan’s Islamic Art class investigate some of the Near Eastern objects on loan to the museum.

Stay up-to-date on university news. Sign up for the bi-monthly Hollins News email.

 

 


Wilson Museum Exhibition Is “Drawn from the Vault”

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is featuring a disparate selection of drawings from its permanent collection as part of the exhibition Drawn from the Vault, which is on display September 28 – December 10.

On paper and in a variety of media, many of these artworks date from the second half of the 20th century and have never been exhibited. “Several of these drawings have Hollins connections, created by students during their classes, former faculty such as John Ballator and Louis Thompson, or alumnae who became career artists, including Susan Cofer and Mary Page Evans,” says Wilson Museum Curator and Director Jenine Culligan. Other works in the exhibition, she adds, were collected and donated by alumnae and other generous donors, or come from artists who became part of region’s artistic legacy.

“This exhibition presents just a small sampling of the riches in the museum’s vault,” Culligan notes.

Drawn from the Vault will be on view in the Wilson Museum’s Ballator-Thompson Gallery. Culligan is conducting lunchtime tours of the exhibition on October 3, November 7, and December 5.

Admission to the Wilson Museum is always free and open to the public. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m.

 

Stay up-to-date on university news. Sign up for the bi-monthly Hollins News email.

 

 


Wilson Museum Presents “Drawings from ‘The Whale'”

The debut picture book by husband-and-wife artistic team Ethan and Vita Murrow is the focus of a new exhibition at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

“Drawings from The Whale,” which is on display July 20 – October 8 in the museum’s Main Gallery, features 28 original graphic drawings that convey the drama and haunting beauty of the ocean, and capture the majesty of the awe-inspiring whale. The exhibition includes a children’s reading nook and a family scavenger hunt activity.

The Murrows have collaborated on a variety of artistic projects including writing, video, film, drawing, and photography. “They approached this book as if it was a film project, set up like a storyboard paying homage to the films of Jacques Cousteau, film noir, and adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work,” explained Wilson Museum Director Jenine Culligan. “Their process included constructing props, organizing a wardrobe, and hiring two young actors and professional photographers to act out and capture the narrative.”

The Murrows share and divide duties much like a film production, working as a team to write and plan. Vita acts as producer and director; Ethan builds the drawings in conversation with Vita.

“Drawings from The Whale” is sponsored in part by the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission with additional funds provided through Hollins’ M.F.A. program in children’s book writing and illustrating. An opening lecture, book signing, and opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center’s Niederer Auditorium.

Admission to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is always free and open to the public.