Syracuse University Magazine

Community Curators Explore Art Collection

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The artistic visions of four Syracuse personalities came together at SUArt Galleries this fall in the exhibition, Four X Four: Community Curators and the Syracuse University Art Collection. The four alumni, all with deep connections to the local arts community, explored the collection to curate their own distinct exhibitions:

»  Arts journalist Nancy Keefe Rhodes ’73, G’89, G’06 created Hand in Hand: Artist and Public in Depression Era America, which featured works from the public art programs from the 1930s.

»  Former Orange lacrosse coach and renowned artist Roy Simmons Jr. ’59 paid homage to acclaimed 20th-century sculptor and SU professor Ivan Mestrovic in In The Shadow of a Genius. Simmons selected drawings, woodcarvings, bronze castings, and carving stones to illustrate Mestrovic’s creative process.  

»  Abstract painter Jack White ’88, who co-founded the Community Folk Art Center in 1972, turned to boxing and wrestling for In The Ring and On The Mat: Observations on Hand-to-Hand Combat, drawing on the longstanding legacy of artists’ fascination with the combatant sports.

»  Community Folk Art Center executive director and African American studies professor Kheli R. Willetts ’92, G’94, G’02 explored seven vices and seven virtues in Seven & Seven, drawing parallels between ethnographic art and pieces labeled “fine art” and pairing objects together to create visual discourses.

As part of Orange Central weekend, SUArt Galleries welcomed alumni to the exhibition and hosted a reception and discussion with the curators. “It was great seeing alumni come back to campus and enjoying the University’s galleries,” says Domenic Iacono, director of SUArt Galleries. “Roy, Nancy, Jack, and Kheli’s exhibitions, along with our new permanent collection galleries, allowed students, past and present, to get a good view of what we have to offer.” —Jay Cox



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Community curators (from left) Jack White '88, Nancy Keefe Rhodes '73, G'89, G'06, Kheli R. Willetts '92, G'94, G'02, and Roy Simmons Jr. '59 drew on the SU Art Collection to create their own exhibitions.

Photo courtesy of SUArt Galleries