Arts & Culture

[WATCH] A look back at Oglethorpe’s inaugural visual artist-in-residence program

Atlanta artist and activist Shanequa Gay will be concluding her inaugural residency at Oglethorpe University this weekend with the closing of her exhibition “shanequa gay: thought and memory.”

As the institution’s visual artist-in-residence, Gay transformed newly dedicated space in the Turner Lynch Campus Center into a vibrant studio, hosting students, faculty and guest speakers for workshops, lectures and critiques. In October 2022, she hosted the panel “Curator’s Chat: Gatekeepers, Caretakers and Party Crashers,” featuring prominent Atlanta curators discussing the current state of art curation. Gay also hosted several lectures in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art discussing her work.

Several classes visited the artist in her workshop, getting an up-close view of her creative process. Students has the opportunity to engage with Gay directly, ask her questions about her career and receive critiques on their work.

“To see a Black woman in her space, doing what she loves to do…it gives me inspiration to know that someday, if I keep doing what I’m doing, keep being passionate and creating this content that I feel like is important, that eventually someone’s going to look at it and find value in it the way that we as students are finding value in Shanequa Gay’s work,” says communication studies and film and media studies double-major Zuri Johnson ’23.

Gay’s residency at Oglethorpe was an exciting culmination of the artist’s longstanding relationship with the university, which began in 2019 when the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art acquired one of Gay’s works, “La Pieta.

Since then, the museum has acquired another work by Gay, “Hey, Slim,” which was recently on view in the Spring 2022 exhibition “Beloved Community: African American Artists in Atlanta Collections and Beyond.” The museum also purchased another of Gay’s works on view in the current exhibition.

Hear from students, staff and Shanequa Gay herself in the video above.

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