The 3rd floor of Beckman Hall recently got an art makeover by students in Micol Hebron’s Contemporary Gallery Practices course. Throughout the Spring semester, the students in Gallery Practices worked together to conceptualize an exhibition and select artwork from the Escalette Collection to be featured in Beckman Hall. Since the students in Gallery Practices came from various majors on campus – including Art, Business, Math, Animation, and English –  they each brought a unique perspective to the project.

Students in Contemporary Gallery Practices class getting ready to install artwork on the 3rd Floor of Beckman Hall.

“Students were excited and grateful for the opportunity to have such hands-on experience and to have a direct say in the art that graces the walls of our campus buildings. This is truly a personalized education, and one that is interdisciplinary and integrative.” – Micol Hebron, Associate Professor of Art

The exhibition that they curated, titled Mother’s Severance, brings together artworks that depict the natural world, and the human relationship to the natural world in this time of climate crisis and an ever-changing environment. The exhibition aptly captures the span of the collection, including both young and well-established artists, as well as work by former Chapman professors including Richard Turner and Bill Boaz.

“I loved the experience of curating with my classmates because each one of us has a unique perspective, different artistic taste, and different passions. Curating our exhibition helped me get to know each one of them. And I continued to learn new things about our exhibition even during the exhibition’s opening day!” – Jenna Newman, Education Studies and Psychology ’23

Student hanging tombstone label in Beckman 3rd Floor.

The students in Contemporary Gallery Practices also had the opportunity to create the exhibition floor-plans and help install the artwork. Working with the Escalette Collection’s art handlers, students learned the basics of art installation, from different kinds of nails and screws to how to safely hold art. They even coordinated an opening reception on Friday, May 6th to introduce the campus to their new exhibition.

“The process of curating the exhibition was filled with surprises. To coordinate a unified aesthetic that also shared a common message was very difficult. Through this process I learned about all the different layers of curation. We got are feet wet with some of the processes necessary for opening an exhibition and we even received a lesson in art installation.” – Julian Deck, English ’24

When visiting this exhibition, you will also have the chance to scan QR codes to hear audio labels created by the students. This audio responses are part of our Panther Perspective initiative, where students, faculty, and staff respond to the artwork on display throughout campus as part of an on-going collective engagement.

Students working together to hang artwork on 3rd floor of Beckman Hall.

We invite you to 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 Art Collection. 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.