While Thanksgiving Day might look different this year, there are some traditions that are more important now than ever. During a year as unprecedented and tumultuous as 2020, Thanksgiving Day reminds us to take a moment to focus on the things we have to be grateful for.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Escalette Collection team has come together to share some aspects of the collection that we are particularly grateful for this year.

Jennifer Keene, Dean of Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

The Escalette Collection makes me grateful for demonstrating the central role that art plays in helping us define our humanity, unlocking the great mystery of the human condition, our failings, triumphs, and aspirations.

Pablo López Luz, San Diego – Tijuana XI, Frontera USA – Mexico, pigment print, 2015. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

Lindsay Shen, Director of Escalette Collection

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to all the artists in the Escalette Collection whose work imagines a more just future. From Patrick Martinez’ Racism Doesn’t Rest During a Pandemic Pee Chee, produced this year as a fundraiser for social justice organizations, to Bovey Lee’s papercut We Are All Mountaineers – Exit, acknowledging that almost all of us are immigrants, Escalette artists recognize our interdependence and common humanity. The fact that we have shelter, food, education, and peace is because of all the visible and invisible people who make up the web of cooperation that binds us together. David Kiddie’s joyful sculpture Tango (2008) reminds us we can’t dance alone. Its exuberant whirl of color and form suggests it might, in fact, take a lot more than two to tango. Just like our communities, the animated whole is greater than the single part.

David Kiddie, Tango, ceramic and glaze, 2008. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Jessica Bocinski, Registrar of Escalette Collection

I’m grateful for the ways that the Escalette Collection team has worked together to come up with new, innovative ways of displaying and sharing artwork. Faced with the challenge of not being able to install exhibitions in-person, the Escalette Collection developed new-and-improved digital exhibitions that allow people to access the collection from home. As our first born-digital exhibition Begin/Again: Marking Black Memories, challenged us to rethink the way we display artwork. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of historical, cultural, and artistic context that we were able to incorporate using a digital format. In addition to being able to provide more contextual information, our digital platform has allowed more people to directly interact with the artwork than is possible with a physical exhibition. Hundreds of people (from countries around the globe) have visited Begin/Again, and several classes have incorporated it into their classes. Nearly fifty people – most of them students and faculty.- have added to the exhibition with insightful visitor response reflections.

Jordyn Sapp, Student Art Ambassador

This year, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write blogs for the Escalette Collection. I get to look at art in my free time and write blogs based on my ramblings, and everyone puts up with it! I’ve also had the pleasure of being able to interview contemporary artists and broaden my understanding and connection with the art world.

Micol Hebron, Cabaray: Observatory Venus at the Lover’s Hour, Archival inkjet print, 2010. Purchased with funds from the Ellingson Family.

Wishing you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Explore all the works in the Escalette Collection by visiting our eMuseum

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. The collection is free and open to the public to view.