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Julia Damiano ’02 (Easton, Pa.) worked as an EXCEL Scholar over the fall semester and interim session under the guidance of Michiko Okaya, director of the art gallery for the Williams Center for the Arts. Through a variety of projects, Damiano learned about the different aspects of being a gallery curator.

“I worked on cataloging, installation, and deinstallation in the Williams Center gallery and completed a research project on a collection of lithographs that were a gift to Lafayette,” says Damiano, a double major in art and history.

Damiano’s tasks included assisting Okaya with curating a collection of lithographs from the Collectors’ Graphics workshop. Active in the Hamptons on Long Island in the 1950s, the group was founded by Jules Sherman, a commercial printer, and featured the works of Reginald Pollack, among other notable artists. The collection is a gift from Michael and Jules Sherman.

“This was an interesting group, because they developed a number of experimental processes to create lithographs,” says Okaya. “It’s a great study collection.”

As part of her EXCEL work, Damiano interviewed Sherman and selected approximately 20 prints to mat and frame for a show that will open May 10.

Damiano credits her mentor with offering her a variety of tasks to build her knowledge, including curating the inaugural exhibit of the Underground Gallery located in the Dean of Studies office suite.

“Michiko has been an amazing teacher,” she says. “She has given me so many opportunities to learn about the role of a curator. I’m exploring many different aspects of a gallery/museum operation with Michiko.”

Okaya describes her student as “very independent, very capable. She’s genuinely interested in her work.”

This work builds on an experience gleaned during an internship at the Artists Space in Soho, where Damiano became intrigued with the art world. Though she is unsure about her future, Damiano says she loves “the excitement of the contemporary art scene and the creative environment.”

The art department at Lafayette has nurtured her talents. “I can’t imagine another place where I could work so closely with so many talented professionals,” she says. “That is something only a small school like Lafayette can offer.”

Damiano is a volunteer with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, serves as co-chair of the Community Service Committee for the Association of Black Collegians, is a peer educator on stress management, and belongs to the student group QUestioning Established Sexual Taboos.

Categorized in: Academic News