News from Mardigian Library: Get to know Autumn Muir; William and Electra Stamelos Gallery Center
This month we get to know Autumn Muir from the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery and announce the new William and Electra Stamelos Gallery Center, opening in spring 2019
William and Electra Stamelos Gallery Center to open in Spring 2019
The Art Collections and Exhibitions Department is thrilled to announce that construction has started for a new gallery center made possible by a generous gift from long-time university donors William and Electra Stamelos.
The new art gallery will greatly assist the department in its mission to best serve the UM-Dearborn campus community, as well as visitors and researchers from across the country and around the world. The permanent art collection is one of the university’s richest and most valuable teaching tools. It needs to be developed, protected, preserved, and interpreted in the best manner possible so that it can be enjoyed and utilized by many future generations.
The new, larger, state-of-the-art gallery center will be conveniently located on the first floor, main concourse of the Mardigian Library, making it easily accessible by the campus and greater community. The center is scheduled to open in late March with an exhibition honoring Bill and Electra. The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery on the third floor of the library will close soon after.
Every aspect of this renovation is intended to facilitate access and provide more opportunities for educational programming, including lectures, workshops and cultural events. The gallery center, with a new outdoor entrance, will be the first space any visitor to the building will encounter. It will be comprised of two galleries divided by a moveable wall that will allow the department to curate either two unique smaller shows or a single more complex exhibition. The new facility will include improved lighting systems and workspaces, and will be extremely flexible in its ability to feature many different art forms of varying sizes and complexities. The new galleries will also be designed to enable the incorporation of interactive and technological aspects into exhibitions.
A welcome area will allow staff to greet visitors as well as monitor security cameras and artwork. The facility will also feature a climate control system to give staff the option of borrowing artistic masterpieces from larger museums around the country with strict exhibiting requirements (such as the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Chicago Institute of Art). This will allow the department to better protect artwork in the collection and on loan, and to produce more ambitious exhibitions of a greater variety. These exciting upgrades will open up a world of possibilities for what kinds of educational programming the department can provide for the campus and greater community!
The gallery center will also include a new collection storage space that is being built with archival quality materials, fitted with space-saving shelves, and installed with light, temperature, and humidity controls. This space will provide a much needed upgrade to the staff’s ability to properly store and preserve valuable items in the collection.
The Stamelos Gallery Center and its accompanying spaces are key elements in the university’s goal to augment the role of arts and museum studies in both the curriculum and student experience. The Art Collections and Exhibitions Department will continue to be a vital educational resource to UM-Dearborn students, faculty, staff, researchers and the greater community. The new gallery spaces will allow department staff greater opportunities to strengthen relationships with other university departments, develop programming that is cohesive with the curriculum, and provide significantly expanded hands-on, professional work experiences to Art History program interns. The gallery center will serve as the gathering place where the campus and local community celebrate the arts. These newly designed spaces will attract and inspire well-regarded artists who will greatly enhance and enrich university offerings both on campus and beyond.
Getting to know Autumn Muir, the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery Registrar/Gallery Assistant
What are your main job duties at the Mardigian Library and what do you love most about what you do?
My main job duties as the registrar/gallery assistant for the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is to implement policies and procedures that relate to the care and preservation of the university’s permanent art collection. I also assist with the installation of exhibitions and the marketing/social media for the gallery.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
Anything I do outside of work is dependent on the weather. If the weather is nice, I am outdoors hiking or exploring new places. If the weather is horrible, I am inside with a cup of tea, sitting in a comfy chair and reading, crocheting or watching something on Netflix.
What have you been reading lately?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and The Secrets of Alchemy by Lawrence M. Principe
What have you done or would like to do next from your bucket list?
I want to see the aurora borealis. This past September, I spent a week in the Upper Peninsula helping a historical museum recover from a flood and I missed the chance to see an aurora by two days.
Do you have any tips or advice for students?
My best advice for students is that there is no shame in not knowing or understanding something and needing to ask for help. Professor’s office hours are there for students to go and ask for help or clarification about an assignment. Librarians are around to help find resources to complete assignments/projects. I could have saved myself a lot of energy and time by going in to talk to my professors or ask a librarian how to find a particular resource.