In the summer of 2002, the Humanities and Social Sciences Department began hanging a series of art photographs in the Parsons hallways. As the academic year progressed, the hanging area migrated to a central area encompassing the Department offices. This area has become the permanent Humanities Art Gallery and will continue to exhibit work on a regular basis.
The idea of hanging photographic work in a formal setting actually originated at the Claremont Graduate University with Dean DeCocker, at that time the gallery director for the CGU Art Department. In Spring 2001, Phil Marquez, then an MFA candidate at CGU, was a teaching assistant in our Art 150, Intermediate Black and White Photography. Toward the end of the semester, Dean suggested that we show the students’ work in the Provost’s Gallery at CGU, so Phil taught the students how to dry mount, mat and frame two prints each, using 16 x 20-inch frames supplied by CGU. We had a little reception at the gallery and the work hung through the summer. By the end of Fall 2001, CGU invited a second group of HMC students to hang their work in the Provost’s Gallery.
Spring 2002 brought a new CGU student, Jan Volz, into the Art 150 class, and Jan continued the tradition of teaching our intermediate students to dry mount, mat, and frame some of their prints. However, we wanted to exhibit their work closer to home, so the framed Art 150 prints were shown in Galileo Foyer, along with the Art 50 displays on one of the Presentation Days.
During the summer of 2002, the Department identified several wall areas where works could be displayed. Professor Tad Beckman inaugurated the gallery by hanging 12 black-and-white prints of images he had made in the Eastern Sierras—Bodie, Mono Lake and Mammoth Lake. That fall, Tad assumed the position of gallery director and began inviting others (faculty, staff and students) to exhibit their work.
Our hope is to provide individuals an opportunity to show their work in a comfortable setting where the HMC community can enjoy it. Prints are matted, framed and hung, along with some explanatory material by the artist. We have also added track lighting to the gallery area. Early in the exhibit, the Department hosts a reception for the artist in which the whole community is invited. The exhibition lasts for two or more months.
Thus far, we have hosted exhibitions of digital color photography by Professors Dan Petersen Peter Saeta of Physics, and black-and-white photography by Sally Rich Arroyo, Honorary HMC Alumna and former employee. Dean De Cocker’s solo show, “A year away from the Pacific,” was on display for the early part of Fall 2004. (De Cocker is now Gallery Director at California State University, Stanislaus.) The Gallery has also exhibited student work from several more Art 150 classes.