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OCTOBER 16

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Curator of the Arts

Courtney Mengel double majored in art and English at Lebanon Valley College

Courtney Mengel ’19 entered LVC as an undeclared major, unsure of what she wanted to make of her future. She left as a double major in art & visual culture and English with the goal of becoming a museum curator or collections manager. 

Mengel’s interest in art & visual culture was sparked after meeting with the department’s professors, who noticed her talent and passion and encouraged her to pursue art and art history as a career. 

“From Dr. Lisa Tice, Dr. Robert Machado, Dr. Grant Taylor, to Dr. Barbara McNulty, and so many more,” said Mengel, “I can definitely say that my college experience would not have been the same without them. They are incredible, inspiring, and go above and beyond for their students.”

Through her strong faculty relationships, Mengel landed an internship at LVC’s Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery. She worked alongside Dr. McNulty, director of the Gallery and assistant professor of art history. 

As an intern, Mengel arranged the artworks for the “Witness to War” exhibition, which—through paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the 20th and 21st centuries—showed soldiers’ deeply personal and varied military experiences.

“One of the most intriguing objects featured in the exhibition was ‘Prayer Boots’ by Robin Brooks of the U.S. Navy, an assemblage of five pairs of used combat boots that hang from a heavy chain,” recalled Mengel. “Visitors could write messages or prayers and place them inside the boots, portraying the idea that art can promote healing.”

Captivated by the effect art placement can have on visitors, Mengel’s passion for art history solidified further. She realized that a career as a museum curator or collections manager was the field for her. 

Since graduating from LVC, Mengel completed a master’s in history of art through Syracuse University’s Florence Program in Italian Renaissance Art. Her focus on Italian Renaissance Art stemmed from her study abroad experience in Perugia, Italy, during her early years at LVC. As a graduate student, Mengel studied abroad again, this time in Florence, Italy. 

“While in Florence, I had close encounters with rare books and manuscripts at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze,” recalled Mengel. “The experience encouraged me to think broadly about the early modern period and discipline of art history.”

Unfortunately, Mengel’s time abroad was cut short just two months after her arrival due to the pandemic.

Mengel recently accepted a full-time position as a feature writer at Engle Printing & Publishing, Co., and still has dreams of becoming a museum curator or collections manager. 

“Museums provide us opportunities to learn from the past and build bridges rather than breed division or isolation,” said Mengel. “I look forward to serving the public by sharing people’s stories to push boundaries and, by doing so, help viewers consider new ideas and approaches.”

 

-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant