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Gallery Director and Intern to Experience “Day of the Dead”
10.24.13 |
The President’s Innovation Fund has enabled many LVC faculty, staff, and students to initiate high-impact experiences that would otherwise not have been possible. But, becoming totally immersed “real time” in Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead religious and cultural tradition is certainly one of the most “life” altering.

Dr. Barbara McNulty, director of the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, and Kara Gunderman ’14, gallery intern, will spend a week in Mexico [October 28 - November 2] where they will experience numerous religious and cultural events associated with Day of the Dead. Be sure to follow @LVC on Twitter to see pictures and tweets from their trip. They will be accompanied by consultant Marisela Chaplin when they tour the markets, museums, galleries, and cemeteries of several Mexican towns and villages in preparation for a fall 2014 Gallery exhibit that will show in partnership with projects held by several faculty in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month. The exhibit, “Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos),” will run from Oct. 31 through Dec. 14, 2014.

“The first-hand knowledge we gain by actually observing and participating in this religious and cultural tradition will help us produce a more thought-provoking exhibition,” McNulty said. “We will be looking for ways to create interdisciplinary links for this exhibition to impact curricular and co-curricular campus programs. There will also be several special events for the LVC and regional communities that will also coincide with the Gallery’s 20th anniversary in 2014.

“This is by far the most immersive experience we have been able to offer our Gallery interns,” McNulty added. “Kara will learn about every phase of showing an art gallery exhibition, from being involved at the inception and actually asking for loans of art pieces to curating and opening the exhibit. It is a lab of real-world experiences.”

Gunderman, a history and art & art history double major, was selected after an arduous application process. Interested students were required to write an essay about how the position would help them achieve their career goals after graduation, provide references, hold a minimum grade point average, exhibit strong writing skills, and be a member of the senior class who had already taken the College’s Museum Studies course. “By being involved in the entire process, Kara will have something formidable and distinctive to put on her résumé.”

The group will visit several areas of Mexico including Monte Alban, one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica, which was the Zapotec socio-political and economic center for almost 1,000 years. They will also visit San Martín Tilcajete, famous for its alebrijes (fantastic wooden creatures); San Bartolo Coyotepec, known for its black pottery; and Vida Nueva, a Zapotec Women’s Weavers Cooperative in Teotitlán del Valle. Cemeteries—Panteon de Xoxocotlan, Panteon Municipal de San Miguel, and Panteon de San Felipe in Oaxaca City—will be central to the experience.

McNulty plans her exhibits so far in advance in order to make Gallery shows fully collaborative with the College’s faculty, administrators, and students. “I wanted to do something inspired by Latin American/Hispanic heritage that would include members of the Languages Department and several other academic and administrative departments on campus,” McNulty said. “I truly enjoy making Gallery exhibitions central to the educational experience and an academic resource for the entire campus and Central Pennsylvania.”

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