By: Farwah Rizvi
A tree of life sculpture from Mexico, a wood work of a mother and child from Africa, prints, photographs and paintings can be found at the new Benedictine art gallery. On Monday August 19th, the University opened its very first art gallery. The 4,700 square-foot space on the 5th floor of Kindlon Hall houses a small part of the University’s massive international collection of 4,000 pieces. The space was designed by architects DLR and ICi. Construction of the new facility took place over a time of three weeks, and cost $750,000.
Teresa Parker, the curator for the gallery gave opening remarks before cupcakes, lemonade and sweets were served to guests.
“We are very excited about the new gallery,” stated Teresa Parker. “The space is
secure, temperature-controlled and a great place to hold our collection. Now we have room for everything, and this will help take our collection to the next level.”
Guests came to the new gallery in droves, and marveled at the paintings and the area.
“It is fabulous how they redesigned everything, this will be a great asset to the University,” stated visitor Phyllis Meyers.
“It is amazing to see everything here. I remember when the artwork was cramped in a little office,” said Adrian Moore. Teresa Parker welcomed guests with anecdotes about the art work and a special man named Father Michael Komechak.
The gallery is in honor of Fr. Michael because art was his true love. A former University employee, Fr. Michael, generously donated his entire collection to the school after he passed away. He had two passions in life, one for art and another f
or religion. He once stated, “Art is the infinite capacity of expression of the holy spirit through human agency.” This quote exemplifies Fr. Michael’s feeling that God is everywhere and that to create art is to express God in a visual form.
Some guests felt inspired by Fr. Michael’s message and the artwork.
“This collection was a labor of love for Father Komechak, and it is a blessing that his work is continuing,” said Karin Hadley. She added, “This is a great example of how a person’s passion can help other people.”
The new gallery contains a diverse array of work.
“I never liked art, but I even found something interesting,” said Nazish Mirza. From an octopus beanie baby to a print work created by famed artist Henry Matisse, there is something for everyone. “The oldest work we have is a Madonna and Child from the 16th century, and we have items from every region in the world,” stated Parker.
Also in the upcoming year, there will be many different exhibits.
“There are a total of 6 different exhibits that will be dispersed around Kindlon this year” said Teresa Parker. “The exhibits change with the season and contain works using printmaking, ceramics, paintings and photographs.”
The new gallery is not just a space to showcase artwork. The fifth floor will also be used as an art restoration workspace, as well as a study area for student workers.
“In terms of the restoration work space, we are in need of equipment,” Parker stated. This equipment includes: Nikon D800 camera, color copier, photo background kit and other photography equipment. For the full list of items or if you are interested in donating contact Parker.
Students have the chance to work as student workers and run the front desk. They can also sign up for a one to three credit hour independent study course entitled FNAR 395. In this course students can have hands on experience of working in the gallery with Parker.
There is not an admission fee, and donations are welcome. The next open house is October 12th. For a tour of the gallery with Teresa Park contact her at email@example.com or 630-829-6270.