Stepping outside of the gallery

By Morgan Slade

On Oct. 11, alumnus Bob Drake ’74 and his wife, Renee, attracted a large crowd to the Samek Art Gallery for a discussion about their experience as art collectors. As I glanced around the room, I was thrilled to see that not only were there the usual suspects of Art and Art History majors and professors engaged in the conversation, but also students from a variety of disciplines.

As an Art History major, you may think I would prefer to attend lectures in the company of other art enthusiasts. While this is sometimes the case, the lecture actually came alive for me as the Drakes opened up the floor to questions from the crowd.

Students and professors came up with questions on a variety of topics. In the center of the gallery, an eager student asked a series of questions on the art market and investments. A seated professor was curious about the Drakes’ opinions on collecting ephemeral works. These questions, among others, offered a different perspective of understanding the art world, one that I do not usually see while in the classroom.

This refreshing conversation would not have been possible without the important tone that the Drakes established from the start of the evening: that neither Bob nor Renee had received any traditional schooling in art and/or art history. For the economics, political science or maybe even engineering majors in the crowd, this surprising yet honest piece of information seemed to ignite a sense of interest and possibility in these students.

 As students of the Liberal Arts, we are required to complete a series of courses outside of our academic interests. So, why not apply this outside of the classroom?

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