Hudson County Community College Foundation Art Collection Presents Unique Opportunities for Inspiration

Posted: 2/29/2012
Deseree McFarlane
 February 29, 2012, Jersey City, NJ – Every day — at nearly every turn — students, faculty staff and visitors at Hudson County Community College may view, enjoy and draw inspiration from works of art by world-renowned painters, lithographers, photographers, sculptors and other artists. The works are there — in the public areas at both the HCCC Journal Square and North Hudson Higher Education Center campuses — on permanent display as part of the HCCC Foundation Art Collection, the only one of its kind among county colleges in New Jersey. Included in the Collection’s more than 200 works are: photographs by William Wegman (best known for the photos of his Weimaraner dogs), Gordon Parks and Ernst Haas; lithographs by Ben Shahn and Will Barnet; an 1871 oil landscape by Hudson River School painter Edmund Darch Lewis; sculpture by Chakaia Booker; a digital print with hand lithography by Faith Ringgold; two prints by Sol LeWitt; and a rubber-stamp print by Chuck Close.

It was just six years ago that the College’s President Dr. Glen Gabert, the HCCC Board of Trustees and the HCCC Foundation Board of Directors initiated the Collection, and it coincided with the inauguration of the College’s Fine Arts studies program. The purpose for the collection was — and is — to enrich the lives of the community and to provide a point of reference and inspiration for the Fine Arts students. Thanks to a grant from the Independence Bank Community Foundation, which also funded the endowment of a Fine Arts studies scholarship, the Foundation purchased its first six works — watercolors by Keith Smith and Carl Burger, a photogravure by Barbara Madsen, a mixed media assemblage by Tony Lordi, a lithograph/collograph/embossing/woodcut by Mayumi Sarai, and an oil-and-acrylic painting by Jon Rappleye.

The criteria for choosing pieces to be included in the Collection have remained the same over the years. Pieces are selected for the mastery they display that will be useful for instruction. In the Collection’s earliest stages, selections were also determined by whether or not the artist was a current or former New Jersey resident, but that standard has since been expanded to include works by major American artists, too. Works by HCCC students are also to be included in the Collection, and pieces by Daniel Guzman and Lauren Clemente will be installed this year.

In addition to selecting and installing works, the Collection’s Coordinator, Dr. Andrea Siegel, shares information from the art world with the College’s Fine Arts instructional staff, and provides information about possible student internships and public art competitions for students. Dr. Siegel also works in conjunction with Fine Arts staff on the Student Art Awards process and program, makes presentations to the College’s Fine Arts students and assists them in preparing portfolios, and purchases materials that may be used by students and staff. Dr. Siegel also arranges for the Foundation Collection Artists’ Talks, which are open to the entire community.

The HCCC Foundation Art Collection has since grown to its present stature thanks to the generosity of its many donors. Since its inception, many pieces have been directly donated by individuals, estates, corporations and other organizations. Monetary donations are maximized by matching funds, and are utilized not only for acquiring works of art, but also for instructional materials and special events.

“Our wish with the Foundation Art Collection has been to surround our community in beautiful, imaginative, innovative and inspiring works that will enrich their thinking and their lives,” said HCCC President Gabert. “We are very grateful to all of the Art Collection benefactors for their generosity and thoughtfulness.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the HCCC Foundation Art Collection may do so by contacting Joseph Sansone, HCCC Vice President for Development, at (201) 360-4006 or emailing jsansone@hccc.edu.