Throughout the hallways of Esch Hall, Schwitzer Student Center and other campus buildings, students, faculty and staff pass by various prints and photographs as part of their daily lives at the University of Indianapolis. This artwork is a part of the University Permanent Art Collection, which is managed by the Department of Art & Design. The art in the collection will be featured in an exhibition titled “Selected Work from the UIndy Permanent Art Collection,” which will run from Oct. 17 to Nov. 9 at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Gallery.
The pieces presented in the exhibit were all collected over the course of more than 60 years, according to Professor and Department Chair of Art and Design James Viewegh, and the works being displayed represent a portion of over 500 artistic objects in the UIndy collection. The exhibit includes artwork done by alumni of the the art department and artists that are both locally and nationally recognized. Viewegh, who also organized the event as exhibition organizer, explained that the reason for putting together the opening is the same as the mission statement of the project: “[The collection] collects, preserves and maintains quality works of art for the institution and surrounding communities.”
Viewegh said that collecting artwork is important because it promotes and supports the art community, both locally and nationally. To achieve that objective, the art and design department adds more each year. He said that the department has framed the works of the permanent collection—excluding sculptures—for display purposes across campus since he took his position as the department chair.
Of course, some have been moved to the exhibit to be displayed, leaving empty spaces where the piece normally hangs. An example of such was an artwork named “Infinity,” which was previously displayed in a hallway on the first floor of Esch Hall. Junior art therapy major LaNyjah Davis said that she had noticed the familiarity of the pieces and thought she had seen them in a museum before realizing they were UIndy pieces.
“I was looking at some of the art and was wondering why they looked so familiar,” Davis said. “If it is in the exhibit, you have to look at it. When it is in the halls you don’t have to look at it because you are walking past it [and] you are not really paying attention to it.”
Viewegh’s thoughts on the visibility of the art works seem to cross paths with Davis’ point of view. He said that the work deserved to be shown in the display room and it was one of the reasons that led him to organize the exhibit.
“The exhibit came about because many people do not pay attention to the art when they are on campus. The only people that tend to are art students,” Viewegh said. “There are actually many places on campus that highlight art on campus.”
Viewegh cited artwork outside of the President’s Office, inside the Krannert Memorial Library and the Fifth Third Sculpture Walk. He said that all of those areas and the exhibit itself promote a local art experience that is comparable to visiting Newfields.
After the conclusion of the “Selected Work from the UIndy Permanent Art Collection” exhibit, the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery will be hosting an opening reception for the “Curiouser and Curiouser: Chris Sickels” exhibition Nov. 19. The exhibition will include the work of Chris Sickels, founder of Red Nose Studio for who creates 3D illustrations and stop-motion animation.