Since 2009, Colby students have been curating the summer exhibition of contemporary art at the L. C. Bates Museum at Goodwill-Hinckley in nearby Fairfield. Working under the supervision of Professor Véronique Plesch, they receive two academic credits for this year-long curatorial practicum. It involves overseeing all aspects of the preparation for the exhibition–from selecting the artists and the show theme to installing the artwork and organizing public programming.
In summer 2015, Colby students Leah Bilodeau ’17 and Sophia Ozburn ’17 curated Seasonal Scenes: The Beauty of Rural Maine (May 8 – September 10, 2015), which explores the many ways in which Maine’s seasons has been interpreted by contemporary artists. The exhibition theme was designed to give visitors a broad perspective of how artists view and portray nature. Painter Matt Russ (Colby ’96) notes that “direct observation is the key to my work. As a landscape painter, this means working outdoors in all seasons and in any weather.” Other works in the show mirror Russ’s approach by depicting the variety of weather associated with each season and emphasizing their continual changes. Kristin Malin highlights the transient quality of Maine’s seasons in her artwork, when she writes that “the immediacy of painting from nature, its elements changing with time, is an effort to capture the dynamics of fleeting moments.” While a majority of the works displayed portray nature as untouched by civilization, painter Lois Dodd chooses to explore the harmonious relationship between nature and humans. Several artists featured depict nature in an abstract way; among them is Rachael Eastman whose aim “is to elude the literal to render nature as felt, walked through, breathed in, and condensed.”