Celebrating Diversity at Davis Gallery – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Celebrating Diversity at Davis Gallery

The Davis Gallery at Houghton House expands its collection with new Chicano art acquired through the scholarship and effort of Dylan Bennett ’19, Sarah MacKechnie ’19, Tiffani Pan ’19 and Xin Xu ’18. Moved by national conversations, the team is celebrating diversity and inclusivity by expanding the Colleges’ collection of work by Hispanic artists, making their “perspectives and stories a fundamental part of the Davis Gallery collection.”

The students participated in a semester-long internship with Visual Arts Curator Kathryn Vaughn P’08, during which they examined the Colleges’ existing collection and developed a joint proposal to acquire “Arrest of Paleteros” by Frank Romero, a Los Angeles artist known for his contemporary depiction of Chicano iconography. The vibrant work of 32 colors depicts several police officers as they arrest ice cream vendors for lacking proper permits.

“We prioritized choosing artwork that would serve as a discussion point and exhibit how art can be a way to discuss political, economic and social issues,” says Bennett, an architectural studies major and art history Teaching Fellow. “One of the biggest takeaways from this experience for me is that in Chicano art, there is a strong emphasis on celebrating the plurality of American identities. It was refreshing to see these artists celebrate their heritage and history.”

The Romero piece joins a collection of original artwork in media such as drawing, painting, prints, sculpture, photography and decorative objects. The Collections are particularly strong in works on paper from the 19th through the 21st centuries.

This Davis Gallery internship, offered each fall, allows students to immerse themselves in the process of acquisition to prepare them for careers in the world of fine art. “The internship allowed us to learn more about the field and gain experience curating—calling galleries, managing a budget and communicating with each other about a vision,” says MacKechnie, a double major in art history and media and society. “I definitely feel more prepared for a career in museum curation, which I’m exploring.”

The Davis Gallery’s spring line-up will premiere on Friday, Jan. 26 with the exhibition “Sacred Thunder” by Syracuse artist Barry Lee Darling and an installation by Stephen Reber.