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   Date: 9/9/10 Bookmark and Share

Museum of Art Exhibitions Based on Student Picks

For any would-be art curators among the Smith student body, a program now in its third year at the Museum of Art’s Cunningham Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs gives them a chance to test their eyes for art.

Ali Cook ’11 invited her parents to campus to view her Student Picks exhibition.

“Student Picks,” a series of exhibitions in the Cunningham Center, is an opportunity for Smith students of all years and fields to create a one-day art show by selecting works from the extensive collection there.

The Cunningham Center (named for Eleanor Lamong Cunningham ’32) is a collection in the Museum of Art of more than 18,000 works on paper, from sketches by Rembrandt and Cézanne to studies by Gauguin and Paul Klee.

To participate in Student Picks, students enter a lottery by dropping their names into “Student Picks” ballot boxes placed in the museum lobby, Campus Center, Neilson Library, Young Science Library, and Hillyer Art Library. Extra ballot boxes will also be placed at the Student Organizations Fair on September 20.

Seven students and two alternates will be randomly drawn from the boxes by Jessica Nicoll, director of and chief curator at the Museum of Art. The students whose names are drawn will then be invited to curate their own exhibitions, which will be displayed from noon to 4 p.m. on the first Friday of each month during the academic year. The first will take place on October 1, then November 5, December 3, February 4, 2011, March 4, April 1 and May 6.

An image picked by Ali Cook ’11 for her exhibition: "Mobile Gas" by Peter Johnson (1977), Ascutney, Vermont. Color photograph on paper. Purchased by SCMA.

“Student Picks is about extending the opportunity to Smith students to take creative ownership of the museum’s collection,” said Amanda Shubert, a post-baccalaureate fellow at the Museum of Art, who oversees Student Picks. “By opening the program up to all Smith students, regardless of how much you know about museums or whether you’ve ever taken an art class, we’re saying this collection is really yours to make something of.”

Last year’s Student Picks lottery attracted 50 student entries. The winners held exhibitions featuring Japanese woodblock prints, Dürer engravings and contemporary photography, said Shubert.

The winning student curators in Student Picks will work with Shubert in compiling and displaying their shows. Best of all, Shubert explains, curators have a chance to share the rich museum collection with their fellow students and the college community. “With Student Picks, students give their peers the opportunity to view works they might otherwise never see,” she said. “You get to have hands-on, behind-the-scenes interactions with works on paper, and you get to share your findings with the rest of the student body.”

The deadline for entering the Student Picks lottery is September 20. Winners will be notified by September 24. For more information contact Shubert,

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