Curating Centre: 200 Years in the Bubble exhibit celebrates Centre’s bicentennial

The upper-level Curating Centre art history course has put together an exhibition titled Curating Centre: 200 Years in the Bubble, celebrating Centre College’s bicentennial through artifacts that are not typically seen around campus. The exhibit will be on display in the AEGON Gallery in the Jones Visual Arts Center until March 29.

Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities Amy Frederick said the overall theme of the exhibit is student life. The 19 students in her class curated objects from the Centre archives, from athletics, and from the Norton Center for the Arts and Grant Hall.

“I believe that organizing an exhibition is something that can only be learned by doing,” Frederick said. “On the first day of class this semester, we organized into three groups. Over the next week, those groups visited the archives, Sutcliffe Hall and the Norton Center. The students took quick photos on their phones of objects that interested them, and then back in the classroom, engaged in class discussion about figures that have been important to the history of exhibitions.”

As a class, the students determined the theme and chose objects that best fit with the concept.

Throughout the course, the class worked with archivist Beth Morgan, who oversees technical services in the Grace Doherty Library; Sonny Evans, athletics facility manager; and Steve Hoffman, executive director of the Norton Center for the Arts.

“The students have tackled this project with such thoughtfulness and gusto,” she added. “I think everyone should come visit the exhibition and celebrate their hard work.”

Annalise Palmer ’20 (Morning View, Kentucky), an art history major with a minor in French and studio art, has the aspiration of working as a curator in an art museum after Centre. She said she immediately registered for the course when Frederick told her about it.

“It encapsulates all aspects of curating an exhibition, whether that be installation, writing and research, as well as a deeper look into curatorial practices,” Palmer said.

“The goal of this project is for students to grapple with the ‘big’ parts of organizing an exhibition, such as the theme, or dealing with difficult parts of history or gaps in our historical record, as well as the ‘small,’ such as editing punctuation on wall text, framing decisions and moving light to illuminate one object well,” she added.

Frederick said this exhibit is important because it was completely curated by Centre students.

“It emphasizes the aspects of campus and Centre’s history that are important to a wide variety of students,” Palmer added. “Everyone in the class plays a different role on campus, and it showcases each of us in different ways. I want people to see this exhibit and walk away with a different understanding of Centre that isn’t always shown on tours or in brochures—the change and advancements of the campus.”

Curating Centre: 200 Years in the Bubble
February 25 through March 29
Reception on March 1 at 4 p.m.
AEGON Gallery in the Jones Visual Arts Center

by Kerry Steinhofer
March 1, 2019