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The Beauty of Collaboration

Posted on November 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM by Lilah Anderson

The reACT Exhibition Series offers faculty and professional and scientific staff of Iowa State the opportunity to act as guest curators for exhibitions that focus on current topics that are relevant to the University community. These exhibitions offer a space for all to have safe and respectful dialogue. Works of art from the permanent collection are brought together in unique ways to facilitate conversation, provoke ideas and consider different perspectives. 

As the coordinator of this educational exhibition series, I have the privilege to work closely with each guest curator to explore the University Museums collection and to carry out their vision for the exhibition. I serve as a collaborator and am involved in many aspects behind the scenes from installation of exhibitions to development of interpretive texts. I have a different relationship with each guest curator and can provide different kinds of support through the process. One consistency that holds from show to show and one of the things I enjoy most in these relationships is that I am able to see the collection from different perspectives. This, of course, being the beauty of collaboration. 

In the latest reACT exhibition I have had the joy of working with Michelle Roling from Student Counseling Services to put together her exhibition Body Image Conflict: From Hostility to Harmony. There were so many moments in the process of working with Michelle where she brought unique insight to the works of art and helped me see different aspects that I hadn’t seen before. Her passion to educate and create space for conversations about body image really propelled the exhibition and has resulted in an experience that is thoughtful and impactful. As many other guest curators before her, she has epitomized the goals of the reACT series and shared our University’s museum collection in a way that invites interaction and conversation. I encourage you to visit the exhibition before it closes on November 20 to see for yourself. 

TOP IMAGE: Body Image Conflict: From Hostility to Harmony was guest curated by Michelle Roling (left) M.Ed., LMHC, CEDS-S, Eating Disorder Treatment Coordinator, Sr. Staff Therapist, Student Counseling Services and coordinated by Lilah Anderson (right), Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning.

BELOW LEFT: So Much to Contemplate, 2016 by Linda Lewis. Clay. Located in the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity. Acquisition to the Art on Campus Collection by Dsn S 145x, Diversity in Art, Spring 2017 with funding provided by Kathy and John Howell. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2017.388

BELOW RIGHT: The reACT Exhibition Body Image Conflict: From Hostility to Harmony in the Reiman Gallery of the Christian Petersen Art Museum.


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