A new normal at the Lenfest Center

The Staniar Gallery will still host exhibitions, but artist talks will be held virtually due to visitor restrictions

Kelsie Westmoreland

The Lenfest Center is working to bring Washington and Lee students opportunities toengage in the arts, even amidst changes due toCOVID-19.

The Staniar Gallery, located within the Len-fest Center for the Arts, houses the university’s art collection which represents regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists.

Typically, Staniar Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year and brings artists to campus to share their work and expertise. But this year, artists are unable to come to campus.

“It is a huge disappointment not to have art-ists physically here on campus, but it’s still aprivilege to be able to work with these artists [virtually], despite the less than ideal circumstances.” said Clover Archer, director of the Staniar Gallery.

The Guerilla Girls, a New York City basedgroup of anonymous feminist art activists, will conduct a virtual campus visit during fall semester to promote their newest collection: “Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly.”

The Guerrilla Girls will hold a virtual artist’s talk on Oct. 7 at 5:30 p.m. which will be recorded.

For Washington and Lee students specifically, the artists will be zooming into a class andholding virtual workshops for a select groupof 30 students.

The collection will be available in-person forWashington and Lee community members andvirtually for the general public through Oct. 15.

From Oct. 20 through Nov. 13, photographer Lisa Elmaleh will present her collection “American Folk”.

Elmaleh utilizes antique photographic processes to capture her images, emphasizing the historical and cultural importance of old-style folk musicians of the Appalachian region.

Elmaleh will conduct an online lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. which willalso be recorded for those unable to attend.

Studio art courses have also made drastic changes for this semester, but many professors have elected to maintain in-person classes fortheir students.

“I chose in person over virtual because ofthe hands-on nature of painting and my belief

that face to face engagement provides the best instructional framework for students,” says Professor Kathleen Olson-Janjic, the Pamela H. Simpson professor of art.

In choosing to stay in person, Olson was forced to make many major adjustments to her classroom environment, including limit-ing enrollment, allotting each student a personal set of painting supplies to reduce unnecessary contact with sharing and taping off individual work spaces to be separated by movable walls.

“I daily reiterate the importance of students following all safety measurements at all times if they want to avoid going fully virtual,” says Olson.

Campus is working hard to avoid a full switch to virtual instruction and it is up to students to do their part in stopping the spread.