September 22, 2021
After a year of covid closures, the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery in Clack Art Center has re-opened to welcome campus, community and visiting artists.
Alma College was anything but normal during the 2020-2021 year; athletics couldn’t have spectators; dorms couldn’t have guests and the Flora Kirsh Beck Gallery couldn’t have visitors. The gallery was left bare for most of the year. However, as campus restrictions have lifted in the new year, the gallery was able to re-open and fill its walls with art.
It was hard for staff and student alike to have the gallery walls empty in the past year. It was especially difficult for last year’s seniors who didn’t get to have an audience for their senior show. “It really made me sad that not as many people got to see the seniors’ art,” said Genevieve Morand (‘22), a senior art major and gallery assistant, who sympathized with the experience. “I was lucky enough to see it being created and we have had tons of talented people in the department. They still had a fantastic show, I just wish there had been better circumstances that allowed more people to enjoy it.”
The gallery is currently displaying work from visiting artists Jane Zweibel and Zach Koch. “Jane Zweibel explores themes of feminine identity though the human figure, narrative, and dreamlike juxtapositions, and Zach Koch investigates nostalgia and the passage of time, and often blends Romanticism and anime imagery,” said Professor Marissa Cook, the Gallery Coordinator, about the artists.
“One of my favorite parts of Clack is that you can tell the minute you walk in that it’s an art building, even outside the gallery. Both of these artists we have now work with really bright colors and sort of play around with their backgrounds in a really cool way,” said Cook on how both artist’s works make the gallery burst with color.
The art gallery is literally and figuratively the core of the Clack Art Center. Having it re-open makes the space feel like it is “breathing again” according to Cook. She said, “I hope to see people visiting and enjoying the gallery, and attending gallery events! After the past year and a half, I don’t think we can underestimate the value of viewing and discussing art in person.”
The return of gallery shows means the return of closing receptions. Anyone interested in hearing the artist’s talk can join in person in the gallery, but the artists will be virtual. “I really hope people come to see [the show] in person, and that people come to the artist talk! I hope it encourages people to see the value in art and maybe even make some of their own,” said Morand. The closing reception for the current visiting artists will be September 30th at 4:30pm.
It is important to not underestimate the importance of art and creativity on campus. For anyone interested in exploring creative outlets on campus, Morand advises “Clack is a great
place to explore! If you’re interested in taking art classes or majoring in art, any of the professors would probably be happy to chat during their office hours! Even if you aren’t an art major, you should definitely see what Clack has to offer! We have an art club/ honorary fraternity, Kappa Pi, that hosts some really great events too!”
Other shows to look forward to in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery this semester include Sarah Nance and Katrina Majkut in October and April Sunami in November.