By Kiyanna Noel
With a new semester comes a new art exhibition in the Slatkin Study of the John Myers Fine Arts Building. Officially opening Jan. 31, Conscientious Collectors showcases the most recognized and celebrated works in the SUNY Plattsburgh collection. The collection is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Angelica Flores, who is one of the receptionists, believes the museum represents helping students identify art pieces and put together a collection. “ I believe that it is our students who learn how to pick out pieces that are valuable. This exhibit actually is curated from our students when it is usually the director who picks out the pieces,” Flores said.
Museum Director, Tonya Cribb sees this exhibit as a way to bring students together despite different majors and cultural backgrounds. The showing of these art pieces not only brings staff and current students together, but it also gives alumni a way to connect back to their own experiences at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“Each year part of the student association they vote for a person to lead a group of students to select some artwork for the permanent art collection. This has been happening for over 50 years, so it’s a really incredible tradition. So then you have a student representative that leads a group and they don’t have to be art students, they can be from biology, business, they can be from any major on campus and they get together and they decide what kind of art they want to leave that represents their class,” Cribb said.
Although Cribb has only joined this project in the summer of 2019, she acknowledged what this program means for students who are elected leaders and for students that may not be art majors.
“Even if a student is not an art student you know who Picasso is and be familiar with these names and recognize how significant the art collection is. So the students get together, they decide what they are looking for, and then they have a budget that is assigned from the student association that they use to purchase the work,” Cribb said.
Throughout the process of artwork being chosen and displayed, students often try to come up with a specific message to connect it with. This semester there are mostly women contemporary artists in the Black Indigenous People Of Color community.
“But in the last few years I’ve noticed that the groups are focusing on BIPOC mostly female not all but mostly female artists, so they’re trying to incorporate these great contemporary artists into the collection which I think is really good. I just serve as an adviser,” Cribb said.
The Conscientious Collectors exhibition represents pieces that all people can find interest in. Between the antiques and other artworks, the collection has a diverse amount of art.
“I wanted to have in that space a little bit of everything just so the students can see the impact they made over 50 years and what a terrific tradition it is,” Cribb said.