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Group explores photo exhibit

Gabriela Malespin | Thursday, October 31, 2013

Photo Futures at the Snite, a new five-week co-curricular initiative that began Sept. 11, allows students from diverse majors and interests to become acquainted with the “Heartland” exhibition.

The exhibition is a collection of photographs by Terry Evans spanning a 30-year period, currently on display at the Snite Museum of Art.

Bridget Hoyt, curator of academic programs, said she wants students to connect with art through Photo Futures at the Snite.

“The goal of the program was to take the exhibitions of Heartland … and use it to have different types of conversations with students,” Hoyt said. “… We wanted to invite more students to become stakeholders at the Snite and become a collecting group.”

Hoyt said the group consisted of eight students who spent the five weeks engaging in discussions on photography and appreciation of Evans’ body of work and its influences.

“Her photographs raise a lot of issues about not only photography but also about the environment, sustainability [and] the Midwestern landscape,” Hoyt said.
These discussions were led by Professor Anne Coleman of the department of American Studies, Professor John Nagle, an expert in environmental legal studies, Professor Celia Deane Drummond from the department of theology, Dr. Jessica Hellman, a climate change scientist and David Actin, curator of photography at the Snite.

At the conclusion of the program, the students drafted a letter of recommendation to the museum director suggesting one of the photographs for acquisition, Hoyt said, and the selection process was completely student-based.

“They had to build their own criteria. They learned from our curator of photography what his collecting philosophy is and what museums often consider in terms of condition, rarity, quality, types of printing,” she said. “They had to look at what we already have that represents her work and what a new photograph will do to the stories that we can talk about and the ideas that we can pull from her body of work.”

The photograph the students chose is now on exhibit at the Snite Museum, and Hoyt said the museum’s director was very pleased with the photograph the students selected.

“We now have a new photograph in the museum thanks to the interest and passion of these students,” Hoyt said.