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Fall Arts Celebration exhibit features 50 years worth of Middle Eastern artifacts

  • A photo of a ceramic artifact from the exhibition.
  • Jim and Virginia Goode pictured among their artifacts in Grand Valley's Art Gallery.

Posted on September 12, 2017

Jim Goode, professor of history at Grand Valley State University, and his wife, Virginia, have explored 11 countries throughout the Middle East for business and pleasure over the past 50 years.

They have collected a wide variety of ceramics, rugs, textiles and other everyday artifacts along their adventures — most representing simple instruments of daily life in these regions of the world.

During a Fall Arts Celebration exhibition at Grand Valley, many of these artifacts will be on display for the first time in the university’s Art Gallery.

A reception for the “Afghanistan to Morocco: Journeys of Jim and Virginia Goode” exhibition will take place September 18, from 5-7 p.m., in the Art Gallery (room 1121), located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts on the Allendale Campus. The exhibition will be on display through October 27.

“The exhibition displays some very simple, but important objects that allow insight into the daily lives of ordinary people in the Middle East region,” Jim said. “We all share certain common practices, such as preparing food and drink, entertaining family and friends and worshiping. This exhibit emphasizes such commonalities; we are more alike than we are different, regardless of our cultural backgrounds.”

Jim began teaching for Grand Valley’s History Department in 1986, and said students have been at the center of the Goodes' involvement in the Middle East. He helped establish the university’s Middle East Studies program and has facilitated student involvement in the Model Arab League since 1988. The event is a three-day simulation attended by students from colleges and universities throughout Michigan who roleplay as delegates from the 23 member states of the Arab League. Jim has additionally led study abroad programs to Egypt and Turkey over the past 17 years.

He will retire from Grand Valley in December; Virginia retired as office coordinator of the Chemistry Department in 2006.

For more information about Fall Arts Celebration, visit

Multiple free events will occur in conjunction with this Fall Arts Celebration exhibit. Each event will feature Jim and Virginia sharing an in-depth look at the stories and collections found within the exhibition.

“Travel in the Middle East: Highs & Lows”
September 13, from 1-2 p.m.
Art Gallery, Haas Center

“Professor Jim Goode: Recollections of an Iranophile, 1968-2017”
September 18, from 1-2 p.m.
Kirkhof Center, room 2215/2216

“Carpets and Kilims”
September 27, from 1-2 p.m.
Art Gallery, Haas Center

"Entertaining at Home"
October 11, from 1-2 p.m.
Art Gallery, Haas Center

"Potter for Every Occasion"
October 25, from 1-2 p.m.
Art Gallery, Haas Center

For more information about the Gallery Conversation Series, visit the Art Gallery website