01 dan rogers best

Rogers Describes an Artful Collaboration

Professor of Modern Languages Dan Rogers introduced the opening of the new exhibit in the Eric Dean Gallery—¡Revolución!: Estampas De La Revolución Mexicana Prints and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative Selected Prints—with the following remarks:

The typical thing to do at the opening of an event such as this would be to utter some kind of platitude along the lines of: “Its my very great pleasure to welcome you to the opening of our newest exhibit, ‘Estampas de la Revolución: an exhibition of Mexican Prints from the Taller de Gráfica Popular (the People’s Graphics Workshop) and the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.”

I would then add that both rooms in the gallery document important historical and political crises that have affected not only people in Mexico, but also the Latino/Hispanic community here in the States.

But that would be a really inadequate inauguration of something as important and complex as the undertaking you see here.

So instead of platitudes, let me tell you that a large part of what makes these prints important is the cooperative process by which they were created. No single artist is responsible for the work you see here. These prints are the product of many hands and many voices working in cooperation.

This very exhibition is a result of one of the most rewarding and productive collaborations I’ve been involved with here at Wabash College—a collaborative process that brought together donors and friends of the college, students, staff, and faculty.

And so it shouldn’t surprise you that an undertaking with this many moving parts had not one, but many starting points.

You might say, it all started a few years ago when I discovered that our past gallery director Michael Atwell and I shared a deep interest in Mexican and Latino Art. Michael began sharing, first his time and knowledge, and then documents and journals that enriched my own teaching. A little over a year ago, he and his wife Kathy made an extraordinary gift to the department of MLL in the form of the prints you see here, making Wabash College one of the few institutions to house a complete collection, and giving professors here a wonderfully rich tool to help students explore Mexican art, politics, and history.

Or, you might say it all started with a conversation Dr. Andrea Ferber, (an expert in printmaking, and visiting professor) and I had in which we discovered a shared passion for Mexican prints.

Or, you might say it all started when Andrea, Laura Conners, and I spent an extraordinary afternoon looking through prints and realizing that a collaboration between Art and MLL was the most logical thing in the world.

Or, you might say it all started when  three senior Spanish majors—Joe Sukup, Kevin Wynder, and Khuong (Max) Nguyen—took up the daunting challenge of researching the art and history displayed here and worked with Elizabeth Morton, Adam Bowen, Dwight Watson, to create the film here in the gallery.

And you might say it all started when Professor Ivette Wilson and her colleagues in Spanish decided to take a leap of faith and mentor students doing research in areas outside the normal confines of our discipline.

So, let me conclude by reiterating my most sincere thanks to all involved, the many others I haven’t had time to name, and especially to Michael and Kathy for giving us the tools teach our students and enrich our community.