By Jennifer Laursen
For nearly two decades, Joe Hildreth has curated exhibitions of artwork created by students across the system, including the annual SUNY Student Art Exhibition and Best of SUNY competition at SUNY Plaza.
Over the years, Joe has sought to expand the list of shows into public spaces in an effort to increase exposure for SUNY’s high quality art programs. At times, SUNY Student Art shows have been hosted by the Governor’s office in Washington D.C., the New York State Museum, and the Albany International Airport. A year ago, Joe curated a remarkable six, simultaneous exhibitions. He installs every piece at every location, a physically grueling task that can take up to three days.
In August Joe is curating a Virtual Abstract Art Exhibition on the SUNY System Art web page. The page currently hosts a Virtual Pride Exhibition he curated. For Joe, these exhibitions are a labor of love, providing visual evidence of the wealth of talent in the SUNY System.
“Each work is a clear snapshot of what’s on a student’s mind, their concerns, fears, and hopes, and as a single person’s voice, is worthy of attention,” he said.
Joe urges viewers to give all student artworks the attention they deserve. “There is something the student wants to say, and if you give it time, you will be able to hear it,” he said.
A longtime professor of art at SUNY Potsdam, Joe became interested in faculty governance, eventually serving as president of the SUNY Faculty Senate, a position he held from 2001 to 2005.
Today, as professor emeritus, he has lifetime access to the art facilities at SUNY Potsdam, where he continues to create works in his preferred media: intaglio printing and stone lithography, both complex processes that demand strong analytic skills. The making of art, particularly drawing, was one of his favorite childhood activities.
He was equally interested in the natural world. He started college as a pre-med major, but graduated with an MFA in printmaking and a minor in painting. Not surprisingly, Joe draws his artistic inspiration from the natural world, biological objects and the surrounding landscapes.
Reprinted with permission from the SUNY System Newsletter.
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