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Philosophy Converges with Art in Visiting Exhibition

Philosophy Converges with Art in Visiting Exhibition

Posted: October 26, 2015

Buffalo State's Philosophy and Humanities Department and visual arts programs are co-hosting the traveling exhibition Women of Worth: Opening Doors to Social Change, October 26 through November 6 in Upton Hall's Czurles-Nelson Gallery. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Women of Worth includes photographs, clothing, and sundry ephemera depicting nine female executives in the fields of architecture, fashion, and textiles who explored the development of women’s corporate social responsibility in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The women include Jennie Louise Blanchard Bethune, Jeanne Gang, and Julia Morgan in architecture; Andrea Jung, Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone, and Helena Rubinstein in cosmetics; and Ellen Demorest, Ellen Donnelley Reed, and Eileen Fisher in textiles.

“The best way to describe the exhibit is as an historic pictorial essay showing each woman, time period, and industry,” said Christine Reising, a retired art professor from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, who co-created the exhibition with her colleague, marketing professor Claudia Blanchard. “It includes a 70-foot line of photographs and also dress forms. The pink gingham fabric used in the first Ellen Donnelley frock guided the exhibition and its focus on the feminine.”

Blanchard conducted the bulk of the exhibit research, including on-site research at the Buffalo History Museum. She and Reising knew Kimberly Blessing, professor of philosophy and humanities, because she taught at Siena Heights from 1997 to 2003; they contacted her about bringing the show to Buffalo.

“We thought it would offer a new and interesting perspective that would celebrate the kind of forward-thinking leadership demonstrated in Women of Worth,” Blessing said.

This comes at a time when Buffalo State is coming off its 2014–2015 Year of the Innovator, and the campus is still committed to heralding exciting examples of innovation.

“It made sense for the exhibition to be co-sponsored by art and philosophy,” Blessing said. “The philosophy angle relates to the fact that they are looking at business ethics and corporate social responsibility, something we talk about in our classes.”

With School of Arts and Humanities Dean Benjamin Christy’s support, Blessing approached Philip Ogle, professor and chair of the Fine Arts Department, for his participation.  

“Philip was kind enough to offer the Czurles-Nelson Gallery and also fund the show though the Margaret E. Bacon Fund,” Blessing said.

Ogle said he was thrilled to co-sponsor a project with the Philosophy and Humanities Department and provide the campus with a new perspective from an outside exhibition.  

“The subject matter is timely. In visual arts, we explore what female artists have brought to the art world and last year Kimberly started a campus organization supporting females majoring in philosophy. Why not look at female industry leaders through an artistic lens?”

Women of Worth can be viewed during gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A reception, which Reising and Blanchard will attend, will be held on November 6 at 5:00 p.m. and is open to the public.

For further information, call (716) 878-3549.

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