Written by Alyssa Wilson ~ Editor-in-Chief
Photo of Brooke Marcy. Photo retrieved from lynchburg.edu
As the new director of the Daura Museum of Art at the University of Lynchburg steps into her new role, she is focusvbbbvvvvvbbvbbbvhvbfgfvbggfggggggbvbgvbving on student needs and making the museum a safe, accessible place for all.
Brooke Marcy has been an adjunct professor at Lynchburg for the past five years while serving as a curator at Riverviews Artspace. However, after the director position opened up at the university, it was time for a change.
As an adjunct with the university, Marcy already has connections with students and faculty in the art department, and she looks forward to deepening those relationships as she steps into her new position on Sept. 18, officially.
“My students are always a huge inspiration for me. Their needs and priorities are very high on my priorities,” says Marcy.
Over the past couple of weeks, Marcy has been taking extra time to listen to the thoughts and ideas of her students, jotting down notes and creating new ideas. “Coming in with an arsenal of what direction we need to move in and how best to start that,” she says.
For example, students have been expressing the need for more art on campus and inside classrooms. There is a small gallery hidden in Schewel hall that was created to showcase student work and has not been utilized in several years that Marcy is looking forward to putting to use.
Marcy notes the importance of students being able to see their work outside of the context of the classroom. “Whenever you put it up in a designated art space all of a sudden they see their work differently and they’re like ‘oh my gosh I can do this,’” says Marcy.
As a Lynchburg local for many years and a cornerstone of Riverviews Artspace, Marcy has a broad range of community connections that she looks forward to integrating into the campus community.
“We have so many resources out there, when we come together and share those resources, we’re just stronger,” says Marcy. Part of the new museum experience will be bringing the city community to experience art with the smaller community of the university. “Let’s give them a presence here,” continues Marcy.
Marcy hopes to bring local artists on campus to do workshops and have talks with students and the wider university community. For example, Jill Jensen is a local print-maker and fiber artist who enjoys doing workshops and will provide demonstrations of how she does her work.
“It would be giving students access to an art form that very few of them have even thought about working in,” adds Marcy. “It’s bringing in artists who do different forms of art just to give them exposure of what’s possible.”
Marcy also has a connection with Dave Eakin, another local Lynchburg artist and graduate of the University of Lynchburg, then Lynchburg College.
As Lynchburg is where Eakin’s art practice began, having him visit campus would give students the perspective of possibilities that are out there after graduation. “Bring him in to talk to the students and ask ‘how did he do it?’” says Marcy.
Marcy talks about making local artists accessible to students, but generally wants to make art accessible to everyone and make the museum a safe and welcoming place where people can discover art.
Art often presents difficult topics and subjects and a safe space is best suited for exploring those touchy topics. “This is a place where you can grow and share and learn,” says Marcy.
Photo of Daura Museum of Art. Photo retrieved from lynchburg.edu.
Marcy says that people do not need a fancy art degree or education to be able to enjoy the art that is presented not only inside the gallery but across campus. She says that art is for everyone and it speaks to each person differently, regardless of education or art background.
Since the induction of President Alison Morrison-Shetlar, the university has heavily leaned on three pillars that were introduced by Morrison-Shetlar that Marcy also wants to reflect within museum exhibitions: leadership development; diversity, equity and inclusion; and innovation and collaboration.
“These priorities also just happen to be my priorities,” says Marcy. “Keep those words present in everything and every day.”
As an artist herself, Marcy has a respectful and personal approach when it comes to curating exhibits for the museum.
“My relationship with the art is that I treat every piece of art I’m around as though it’s mine,” says Marcy, “And I treat it with that much respect and care.”
Marcy understands how much time it takes to make art and what the impetus is behind it. “It’s personal for me. It’s not just a piece of art,” she says.
Marcy has an intense, lifelong passion for art. Both the making of it and the teaching of art.
“Sharing that passion at the Daura museum is the greatest gift I can give. I’m so super excited to be able to share my passion with the Lynchburg community and the students,” says Marcy.
The museum currently has a permanent installation – “Works from the Collection: An Accumulation of Objects Gathered for Study, Comparison, or Exhibition.”
To learn more about upcoming exhibitions at the Daura Museum of Art, click here.