Friends of Newcomb Art Unite

December 1, 1997

Judith Zwolak

Elizabeth Boone, professor and chair of the Newcomb Art Department, looked around and realized that the department she leads has a lot of friends.

"For a number of years, I had been hearing from colleagues in town and out of town that the art department was so very important to them and they wanted to reconnect with it," Boone says.

Boone and Nancy Corwin, director of the Newcomb Art Gallery, figured this strong community and alumni support of the department could be channeled into an organized group. Last month, they and members of the community formed the Friends of Newcomb Art.

Designed to bring the department's programs and activities to a wider audience, draw art alumni together and create a base of community support, the friends group formed in early November and will hold its first event on Dec. 4, a preview of the department's annual holiday sale (see calendar).

Some members of the community involved in the initial plans for the group include Sandra Freeman (N '60, G '80), Eugenie Huger (N '53, G '91), Dottie Coleman (N '41) and Peggy Goode (N '69).

Boone stresses that the members themselves will govern the group and serve as officers with support from department and art gallery staff. Categories of membership range from student level at $15 per year to founder level at $1,000 per year. Corporate memberships are also available.

"I think there will be two constituencies of membership," Boone says. "There will be the New Orleans people, who may be more interested in the studio side of things, and then there will be a constituency of MFA, MA and BA graduates across the nation who want to be tied to the department."

Benefits of membership include pre-event parties at opening receptions for gallery exhibitions, special invitations to gallery and department events and "salon" evenings with curators to discuss or privately tour exhibitions.

"I think the biggest selling point of membership is knowing about the exciting events that are going on here," Boone says. "I've run into people who say they didn't know there was a lecture, or they didn't know there was an opening and they ask, 'How do I get on your list?' Well, joining the friends is a way to get on the list."

Another goal of the group is to form a docent program for the art gallery. Through this program, gallery staff will train volunteers to give tours of exhibitions. Boone also envisions a reception during homecoming for members of the Friends of Newcomb Art. For information on joining the group, call the Newcomb Art Department at 865-5327.

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