The third floor of the Howard Administration Building is undergoing a renaissance of sorts as a centuries-old exhibit retires to be replaced by contemporary works of art from faculty and students.
The Brest Ivory Collection, loaned to the school from the Alexander Brest family with pieces dating to medieval times, has been inventoried, packed and stored in a climate-controlled area of campus.
“The Brest family and their philanthropy to Jacksonville University has been extraordinary,’’ Senior Vice President of University and Academic Affairs Dr. Donnie Horner said. “Part of that extraordinary philanthropy has been their loaning us the ivory collection that is literally centuries old. Regardless of what one thinks of ivory carving and the like, the fact is that when one looks at these exquisite pieces, these were master works of artistry in their time. Unfortunately, what happens is as centuries-old pieces go they become brittle and stale, and you have to care for them and retire them from time to time. We have taken good care to hire a company who specializes in their good care and storage and returned them to safe keeping in a climate-controlled facility in perpetuity.’’
The next step, undertaken this week, is repopulating the area with ceramics, paintings, three-dimensional printed pieces, glass works and a host of works produced at the school.
“We’re excited about this because we’re going to dust it off and freshen it from time to time,’’ Horner said. “Where once we had the exquisite artistry of the ivory collection you will now see master works by Jacksonville University artists.’’
The initial incoming offering will include paintings by Assistant Professor of 2-D Art and Foundations Coordinator Lily Kuonen; ceramic works by Professor of Art and department chair Dana Tupa and Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Tiffany Leach; glass work by Assistant Professor of Glass Brian Frus; photos embedded in aluminum from Associate Professor of Photography Ginger Sheridan who worked in collaboration with Associate Professor of Piano Dr. Scott Watkins, 3-D printed characters created by Associate Professor of Animation Erik Kuzendorf, a collection of original logos from Assistant Professor of Graphic Design David Smith and a self-portrait burned into wood from Assistant Professor of Sculpture Jim Benedict.
“The intent is to use the space on a rotating basis for faculty, student and alumni works,’’ Dean of Fine Arts Dr. Henry Rinne said. “To get started, we have the work from the faculty and will work on a schedule to rotate the pieces.’’
Rinne said rotation generally will be by the semester unless one of the works is required at another site.
“Sometimes the faculty will have an exhibit elsewhere and will have to pull it out and replace it,’’ he said. “The rotations probably won’t be wholesale changes.’’
– Jim Nasella