subscribe: Posts | Comments

FGCU art professor Patricia Fay reflects on 20 years of growth and progress


FGCU 20 20On view now through September 21 in FGCU’s Wasner Art Gallery and ArtLab Gallery is 20/20: Art Alumni Exhibition. As the name of the exhibition connotes, twenty alumni of the FGCU art program will be exhibiting their work in both galleries in celebration of Florida Gulf Coast University’s 20th anniversary.

Patricia Fay 01“As we know, it all began in 1997,” writes Art Program Coordinator Patricia Fay in the exhibition catalogue. “For the 190 students in the College of Arts and Sciences at the newly-founded Florida Gulf Coast University, Art was one of the original twelve concentrations for the initial Liberal Studies degree.” The others were biology, computer science, earth systems science, English, environmental studies, history, math, psychology, social sciences, Spanish and theatre.

FGCU Art Program Photos 02“Founding professor Morgan Paine launched the Art Program with six students, built a foundational curriculum based on models from within the Florida State University system, and taught courses from drawing, painting and sculpture to 19th and 20th century art history,” continues Patricia Fay, who was hired FGCU Art Program Photos 01in August of 2000 as the second full-time art professor. Her focus was the development of courses in ceramics, sculpture and interdisciplinary studies courses.

At that time, the art program had swelled from six art majors to 39, with the total student body jumping to On Exhibit 11585 students.

“Like all the faculty at that time, I came to FGCU to help start a new university,” expounds Fay. “This was an unprecedented career opportunity, a chance you just never get to be there at the beginning, shape the institution, and watch it grow.”

And grow it did. Now in its 20th year, the art program has swelled to 167 art majors. They are part of 5,384 students who are enrolled in 23 undergraduate programs in the College of Arts Watkinson 08and Sciences.

The growth of the art program took place concurrently with the design and construction of the program’s physical facilities. In the early days, studio courses were taught in a carpeted classroom on the second floor of Reed Hall. Students and faculty alike rejoiced when the FGCU Arts Complex was completed in August 0f 2002.

Voytek Motherboard 08The move into purpose-built facilities for ceramics, sculpture, drawing, painting and printmaking was a revelation,” Fay recalls. “The expansive art gallery in the center of the building established a contemporary art agenda that continues to support and extend the curriculum, including a consistent schedule for student exhibitions.”

While Andy Owenstate-of-the-art, modern facilities are clearly a benchmark of commitment and sophistication, the strength of the FGCU art program is unequivocally its inspired and inspiring faculty. Joining Paine and Fay in 2004 was Megan McShane, who built the curriculum for modern and contemporary art history, and sculptor Mary Voytek, who once worked closely with Robert Rauschenberg in his Captiva compound and earned his recognition and praise.

Anne-Marie Bouche took over ancient to Renaissance art history and humanities general education in 2008 from earlier hire Scott Karakas, and Andy Owen replaced retiring professor Carl Schwartz to direct Salmond and Sturdivant 3the drawing curriculum and develop coursework in printmaking. And last, although certainly not least, Michael Salmond joined the faculty in 2011 to establish studies in digital media design, thereby moving the art program in exciting new directions.

The twenty alumni taking part in 20/20: Art Alumni Exhibition reflect the wide array of evolving disciplines and influences characterized by the FGCU Art Program over the course of its brief albeit noteworthy twenty year existence. In that sense, the Inspired Collectors 04exhibition is more than a mere art show. It is an affirmation of the vision, dedication and hard work of both the program’s seminal faculty and groundbreaking student body who, individually and together, have been rewarded for their willingness to take risks to be part of something novel.

The exhibition is curated by Gallery Director John Loscuito and Gallery Coordinator Anica Sturdivant. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State for the State of Florida, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

August 25, 2017.


Comments are closed.