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An Eye For Opportunity

An Eye For OpportunityTufts’Amy Ingrid Schlegel is steadily transforming the University’sart galleries into a regional player.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.12.04] Amy Ingrid Schlegel has an art. Shealso has an eye for opportunity. As the director of Tufts’galleries and collections, Schlegel is combining the two to establishthe TuftsGalleries as the newest player in the metro-Boston arts scene.

“Wehave to raise our profile, both on campus and off,” Schlegeltold The Boston Globe, in a profile story on her firstyear at Tufts. “Students don’t need to be afraid ofwalking in the door, as many of them are. We need to be a resourcefor our host community. [When I got here] there was no marketing,and maybe one event during the run of a show.”

Schlegelhas already started to change that.

Though sheinherited more than a year’s worth of pre-planned exhibitions,Schlegel has seized every opportunity to inject her vision intothe schedule.

“Schlegelspotted a hole in the schedule over the summer and mounted thefirst Tufts Annual Juried Exhibition, which reached out to localartists in Somerville and Medford,” reported the Globe.

Nearly twodozen were featured in the first-of-its-kind event, drawing hundredsto the exhibit’s opening reception in June.

“Wewere delighted to bring local artists together and to have thegallery and University be resources for the local arts community,”Schlegel said of the exhibit.

When a holeopened in the fall schedule, Schlegel jumped at the opportunity.The result: Tufts is hosting a traveling exhibitof visually provocative photographs contrasting late 19th-centuryvintage photographs and late-20th century photo-based contemporaryart.

“It’sworld class material, and curatorially radical, with historicaland contemporary juxtapositions,” Schlegel told the Globe.

She hopesto bring more of the same “world class material” toTufts’ 6,700 square feet of exhibition space.

“Iespecially want to work with artists who are transnational, whichis a common phenomenon,” Schlegel told the Globe,describing her plans to bring more work from international artiststo Tufts. “Wherever you are, you find artists who have emigratedand are working in a completely different context from that inwhich they were raised or trained.”

Schlegelhas also been exploring the University’s permanent art collection,which totals more than 1,800 pieces dating from the 4th CenturyB.C. to the present and includes works by Pablo Picasso, AndyWarhol, John Singer Sargent, Helen Frankenthaler and Alice Neel.

She has hadher eye on enhancing some of the physical display space at Tuftsas well.

“Shehas put up a plasma screen in the arts center that continuouslyshows art videos,” reported the Globe. “Shenoticed that sculptures, such as one by Frank Stella, were beingignored, or even worse, leaned on, and she relocated them.”

While hervision won’t be totally realized for a while, Schlegel isstarting to put the pieces in place.

“Wehave a beautiful space that has been perceived as a hidden gem,”she told the Globe. “Our challenges are not thatgreat.”



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