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Published: March 20, 2019 Author: Alaina Bartel

First lady Ruthie Nellis has invited the Ohio University and larger community to celebrate the opening of a new art installation in Baker University Center from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to John Rogers at rogersj1@ohio.edu.

The art installation, located on the second floor of Baker University Center, is a collaboration between OHIO Conference and Event Services, The Kennedy Museum of Art and the President’s Office, with art chosen by Mrs. Nellis. 

“I was honored to be asked to participate in selecting art for the new installation in the Baker University Center,” Nellis said. “Ohio University is lucky to have such a robust and diverse collection at the Kennedy Museum of Art, and to share it more broadly will highlight the impact art can have on our daily lives.”

The idea for the art installation originally came from Liz Pahl, associate director of event management in OHIO Event Services, in October 2016. When Pahl came on board, she noticed how little art work there was in Baker University Center. 

Pahl contacted Jeff Carr and Ed Pauley at the Kennedy Museum of Art about the possibility of borrowing artwork to hang in the second-floor hallway. The project was stalled due to renovations of the KMA Collections area, but once the renovations were complete and President M. Duane Nellis was inaugurated in 2017, Event Services and KMA began talking about the potential project once more. 

“Having Ohio University's first lady Mrs. Nellis choose the paintings to be put on display was a wonderful way to bring this project to fruition,” Pahl said. “I am beyond thrilled to see this collaboration happen almost three years after the first inquiry. The pieces that Mrs. Nellis chose are welcomed additions to our second-floor conference hallway. Already we've received great feedback about the artwork warming up the space and making it welcoming to students, faculty and guests visiting Ohio University.” 

According to Carr, collections and exhibitions manager at KMA, the artwork selected are paintings gifted to OHIO by alumnus Foster Harmon, who owned and operated an art gallery; as well as prints from KMA’s extensive print collection started by OHIO’s former College of Fine Arts Dean Henry Lin and Professor Donald Roberts. 

Carr said it has been an honor to have OHIO’s first lady take an active part in selecting the works now displayed in Baker University Center. He expressed his gratitude towards the Baker University Center staff he worked with, who made sure that proper environmental and security measures were met for the display of the art. 

“As museum professionals, I think we can become a little bit jaded from spending a lot of our time around works of art, so to see it being ‘discovered’ and appreciated by others is a reminder of the rich art resources we have at Kennedy Museum,” Carr explained. “Art isn’t made to live in a dark storeroom, it’s meant to be seen, and Baker Center is a perfect place to make that happen.”