October 3, 2001
Works of Art "On the
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
at Smith College
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-The Smith College
Museum of Art recently initiated a new exhibition space on the
construction fence that surrounds the Smith College Museum of
Art and Fine Arts Center renovation now underway on Elm Street.
The project, titled "On the Fence: Public Art in Public
Space," will host works of art of any medium that can withstand
Judith Marksbury, associate director of college relations and
member of the fence art project committee, said, "It will
be fascinating to see what we are sure will be a great diversity
of artwork installed in such a nontraditional setting. Particularly
pleasing is the opportunity this project provides for community
members to share their talent. I think we all will be impressed
by the imagination and ingenuity required to display one's art
in an out-of-doors gallery."
Participants in this exhibition will be individuals and groups
of all ages, including Smith students, staff and faculty; local
artists; school groups and community organizations from the greater
Northampton area. Each installation will be on display from one
to 14 days.
Using a variety of weatherproof materials, the proposed works
of art vary from writings and illustrations to massive collages
and paintings. All submitted works are subject to approval by
an advisory committee that includes representatives from the
museum and several other Smith academic departments as well as
a local artist.
Nancy Rich, curator of education for the museum and chair of
the fence art project said, "This valley has many talented
artists, and we wanted to make it possible for Smith and Northampton
area communities to see each others' work. Response has been
good, and more proposals are welcome. Exposure to weather will
be a challenge, but people are coming up with great ideas on
materials. Maybe in the winter someone will do an installation
with ice. And with the one-day installation option, artists could
even use the fence for a one-day art fair."
The site was recently established as a gallery space when the
first exhibit, "Wood Paintings" by Amherst artist Lorna
Ritz, was installed along the chain-link fence facing Neilson
Library. In the coming months, all sides of the fence will be
used to host a wide array of installations by a diverse collection
of artists and groups.
From Oct. 28-Nov. 4, the fence will serve as a "sounding
board" for the Smith community as it celebrates Otelia Cromwell
Day, an annual symposium devoted to issues of racial and cultural
diversity. The topic for this year's symposium is "The Politics
of Culture: Appropriation, Appreciation, Interrogation,"
and members of the Smith community will be encouraged to express
their reactions to the symposium events by writing or drawing
on the white fabric draped over the fence.
The advisory board has received considerable interest in the
fence art project and several additional proposals have been
submitted for future exhibitions. One group, organized by Northampton
artist Elizabeth Caine, plans to install works that incorporate
everyday objects, like recyclable containers, into patterns and
designs that form large mosaics.
Another display, tentatively scheduled for early 2002, will combine
the fictional stories and corresponding artwork of the young
students of Northampton freelance writer Janice Beetle Scaife.
For more information on how to submit artwork to display "on
the fence," visit www.smith.edu/artmuseum/programs/index.htm.
The Fine Arts Center, which includes the Museum, is currently
undergoing an ambitious $35 million renovation and expansion
project expected to be completed in 2003. Until its reopening,
the museum continues to provide an art presence on the Smith
campus with outdoor exhibitions like "Art on the Fence"
and Patrick Dougherty's twig sculpture, "Paradise Gate."
In addition, highlights of
the museum's collections are traveling the United States and
overseas in three touring shows. To learn more about the Smith
College Museum of Art and its many programs and exhibitions,
or to monitor the progress of the Fine Arts Center renovation,
or call (413) 585-2760.