artofasiaA new gallery, to be created in the Smith College Museum of Art, will be known as the Carol T. Christ Asian Art Gallery. Funded by gifts from trustees, including a foundational gift from Peggy Block Danziger ’62, the named gallery will recognize, in the words of Board Chair Betty Eveillard, President Christ’s “outstanding service to the college.”

“Carol brought to Smith a deep knowledge of the changing needs of a liberal arts education and a total understanding of the financial challenges facing private colleges,” Eveillard said.

Describing President Christ’s contributions as “a blessing to Smith,” Eveillard said, “Carol leaves the college a much stronger institution than the one she found when she arrived in Northampton more than a decade ago.”

Eveillard announced the naming of the gallery Friday, at the board’s final meeting of the year. She expressed the trustees’ desire to thank President Christ for all her good work on Smith’s behalf and her pleasure that a permanent recognition of her presidency could be created in the context of the arts.

Of the surprise naming announcement, President Christ said, “Nothing could please me more.”

“The Museum has been such a source of joy to me and Paul,” she said. “It is truly a jewel of the college.”

She expressed pleasure that the gallery would reflect the focus on Asia that has been a hallmark of her presidency.

“I’ve felt so strongly that Asia represented an area of opportunity for Smith, in responding to a changing world.”

SCMA director and chief curator Jessica Nicoll notes that art from Asia, both traditional and contemporary, is the most rapidly developing area of the museum’s collection; she says the new gallery, the first dedicated to Asian art, will be used flexibly to showcase the scope of the museum’s holdings and to facilitate even greater integration of Asian art across the curriculum.

The new 1,250-square-foot gallery, to be created through the reconfiguration of space on the museum’s lower level, is expected to be open in fall 2015.

For more information about the Museum’s holdings in Asian art, visit the current exhibition “Collecting Art of Asia,” which continues through May 26. It marks the centennial of the first gift of Asian artworks to the museum, acquired in 1913.