By the time an art professor is ready to retire, he or she has had many years in which to perfect artwork. Years of experience and experimentation result in a professor building a project that spans a lifetime and represents the evolution of a creative vision.
On Saturday, the accomplishments of retiring faculty from the School of Fine Art and Art History were recognized by students, faculty and alumni of the Tampa Bay arts community.
A reception titled “Exeunt Omnes” showcased each retiring faculty member’s work and highlighted each instructor’s favorite personal creations to honor the retiring professors.
“‘Exeunt Omnes’ is Latin for ‘all exit,’ a term that is commonly used in stage direction. We chose the term because we thought that it would be more exciting than retiring faculty,” said Alexa Favata, associate director of the Institute for Research in Art at the Contemporary Art Museum.
USF’s art department houses various professors who are heavily involved in the arts at the university and nationally recognized for their artistic works. And those that are retiring are no exception, Favata said.
The pieces featured in “Exeunt Omnes,” which include oil and acrylic paintings, ceramics and cast bronze sculptures from the last few decades, were lent to CAM for the commemorative exhibit.
“We asked the different retiring professors to tell us about some of their favorite works of art that they have created and we went to private collectors and museums and even the artists themselves and asked if they would donate for this exhibit — and, of course, everyone said ‘yes’,” Favata said.
CAM has organized the commemorative celebration and art exhibit since late January. This is the first time the museum has collaborated with alumni, private collectors and museums to recognize a group of retiring faculty.
“The museum and art department worked together to get alumni involved with who they have fond memories of and who they feel define the art department,” Favata said.
Eight alumni were selected to make a cane to present the retiring faculty members at the ceremony.
“We sent a cane to eight alumni in different parts of the country and had them create one keeping in mind the retiring artist when making it,” Favata said.
The canes were mailed back to the museum and presented to each retiree at the opening reception.
Visitors of the museum can see the canes on display as part of “Exeunt Omnes” until July 19, when the exhibit ends. The canes will then be given to the retirees.
CAM has been at its current location just west of Theater II since 1989.
Favata said the museum not only maintains the university’s art collection, which includes more than 4,000 pieces of art, but it also regularly changes its exhibits to bring the area the most current cultural trends in art.
CAM is accredited by the American Association of Museums and has presented numerous exhibitions of contemporary art from artists locally and nationwide.
Favata said the museum is also the owner of graphic and sculpture works by internationally famous artists, such as Roy Liechtenstein, who have worked at USF’s Graphic studio.
“Our exhibits usually change every 6 – 8 weeks, however, every year at the end of July, the museum closes until September for upkeeping,” Favata said.