A grand finale: Art show curated by graduating art history majors

  Image: Fairfield Awards Dinner
Caroline Nunez of Miami, Fla., was one of seven art history majors who curated an exhibit as part of a senior capstone course.


One day before they receive their baccalaureate degrees from Fairfield University, seven seniors will welcome guests to their own curated art exhibit at Southport Galleries on Pequot Avenue in Southport, Conn. An opening reception takes place on Saturday, May 22, at 5 p.m. and the exhibit runs through June 7.
The capstone course that led to the exhibit was the culmination of their four years of study as art history majors and was, they said, "a grand attempt to 'tie it all together' before we embark into the infinite abyss of the art world." Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of visual and performing arts, who has known most of the students since their first year at Fairfield, said it was a wonderful experience to see them progress from students to young professionals.
The students had no textbooks or curricula to help them prepare. Eliasoph told them to keep it simple: find a lead, converse with a family friend, visit a gallery. The event of finding an artist or a painting, he told them, could be serendipitous. And he promised it would be easier than it sounded because there are a plethora of unrepresented artists and a scarcity of empty gallery wall space.
Each class was a field trip where the students engaged leading figures in the art world, including the director of New York's Winter Antiques Show at the Park Ave. Armory; a senior expert in American art at Christie's auction house at Rockefeller Center; a senior vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the executive director of the Connecticut Commission for Culture & Tourism in Hartford; plus many curators and gallery owners.
The students, who come from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Florida, decided to call the exhibit "7 degrees: Seven perspectives, one experience" to play on the idea of seven students receiving their degrees from Fairfield while adding this professional experience to their resumes.

Image: Southport art gallery
(L-R): Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of visual and performing arts at Fairfield University, introduces senior art history majors, Elizabeth Kelleher of Worcester, Mass., Sarah Brennan, of Old Tappan, N.J., and Cassandra McKaba, of Short Hills, N.J., to Southport Galleries where they are curating an exhibit as part of their senior capstone course.

"This exhibit/capstone is a great way for us to prepare for what is to come," said Caroline Nunez of Miami, Fla., who hopes to combine her interests in art and global issues once she graduates.

Alexandra Urquia, who grew up in New York City where she often visited the Met, said she hoped the exhibit would inspire people to become more interested in the arts because, "Art gives people purpose to their lives." Stacey Winsch of Westbury, N.Y., said the capstone "completely immersed us in the art world."
The student curators will receive a percentage of sales if their represented artwork is sold. As part of giving back to Fairfield, they agreed that a portion of the money from their sales would be donated as a senior gift to the University's new Bellarmine Museum.

Other student curators who organized the "7 degrees: Seven perspectives, one experience" exhibit were Nano Fabuss of Manhasset, N.Y., Sarah Brennan of Old Tappan, N.J., Elizabeth Kelleher of Worcester, Mass., and Cassandra McKaba of Milbourne, N. J.
The goal for each student was to have one to three paintings arrive at Southport Galleries by May 17 for placement and hanging. The featured artists include Sean Beavers, Ralf Feyl, George Henry Boughton, Charles Warren Eaton, Nick Patten, Charles Wildbank, and Kim Ruggiero. Southport Galleries is located at 330 Pequot Avenue, Southport, Conn. For more information, visit www.SouthportGalleries.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 7, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 291

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