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Art Gallery Hires New Curator of Exhibitions

February 21, 2017

Art Gallery Hires New Curator of Exhibitions

Press Release - February 20, 2017

Director Leaving

(February 20, 2017) - for immediate release

Calvin College today announced that Joel Zwart, Director of Exhibitions, will be leaving to join the Art Gallery at Grand Valley State University. Zwart will take on the role of Curator of Exhibitions at the university, an institution with an innovative commitment to collecting and exhibiting art to augment and enhance classroom instruction across all disciplines. GVSU now boasts a collection of over 15,000 works of art, with nearly 9,000 of them exhibited throughout the university facilities on six campuses located in six West Michigan cities, serving 25,000 students. Zwart will be charged with the organization, design, development, and installation of new exhibitions at GVSU.

Zwart served as Director of Exhibitions at Calvin College from 2003 to 2017, and during his tenure organized nearly 230 exhibitions. Some of the more prominent ones include the traveling exhibition “Petra: Lost City of Stone” in 2005, “Between Nature and Nationality: The Hague School in the Nineteenth Century” in 2007, “The Humor and Wit of Pieter Bruegel the Elder” in 2010, and “Pathways to the Divine: Prayer Rugs of the Middle East” in 2016. He directed the (106) Gallery and Studios in downtown Grand Rapids from 2005 to 2016, and oversaw the Center Art Gallery’s move to its new museum-grade facility at the Covenant Fine Arts Center in 2010. Over the past 14 years he broadened the scope of the college’s permanent collection, by adding 700 works of art. He led efforts to professionally organize and digitize the collection and created areas of special emphasis within it—including works by Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe, collections of local and regional artists, the Prodigal Son Collection, Dutch nineteenth- century paintings, Modern American photography, and the Donna Spaan Contemporary Collection of Art.

As noted by Craig Hanson, Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Calvin College, "What Joel Zwart has accomplished in fourteen years as Director of Exhibitions at Calvin College is astounding. Under his leadership, a modest college gallery program has been transformed into an impressive collection with extraordinary exhibition space. Joel's vision and his breadth of knowledge is perhaps surpassed only by his keen emotional intelligence. He is brilliant at bringing people together and working with people to engage works of art in exciting, fruitful ways. His move to GVSU is their enormous gain and Calvin's loss. The good news for all of us is that Joel will still be working to produce exceptional exhibitions in West Michigan."


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