Artist Linda Day Remembered With Campus Exhibit Through DecemberPublished: November 14, 2011
Linda Adair Day, an Art faculty member who passed away in August following a long battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, was remembered with the opening of an exhibit of her work in October. The event was tied to the inauguration of a newly defined space within the Department of Art that combines an expanded Student Advising Center and Faculty Gallery.
The works will continue on display through December. Admission is free. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can expect to see abstract paintings sampled from Day’s last major body of work which was influenced by her travels in India and residency at the Sanskriti Foundation during a sabbatical in spring 2010. These works were first presented in a solo show titled “Ou-Boum” exhibited at the Los Angeles gallery called “another year” this spring.
The exhibition is the first in what department chair Chris Miles envisions as an ongoing rotation of shows focusing on the creative and scholarly work of faculty in the department. A member of the Art Department since 1998, Miles first got to know Day when they were both lecturers. Miles praised Day’s impact, commenting, “Linda was beloved by colleagues and students alike. She was both generous and challenging with her students and was a great colleague. Her passing leaves a hole.
“I felt it was important to have something on campus so that the university community could see the last work she created,” added Miles. “She created an amazing body of work. It is beautiful, formally rigorous and structured. It is incredibly energetic and vibrant. I am amazed at the quality of work she created while she was very ill and in treatment. It represents an incredible artistic flourish in the most difficult part of her life.”
Miles encourages the university community to visit the exhibit. “It’s an inspiration for artists of course,” he notes, “but really it’s an inspiration for all of us who try to balance the demands of our lives with our creative and scholarly callings.”
Miles sees Day’s work as about unfamiliar places and dimensions, whether cultural, psychological, spiritual or physical. “She portrays a certain kind of dynamism in her work that reflected her impressions of the world around her,” he said. “She represents what it means to have one’s senses almost overwhelmed both in terms of baseline experience and in cultural experience.”
The expanded student advising center was deemed necessary for a large department where student enrollment hovers around 2,000. “One of the real difficulties in recent years was having enough advisers to keep up with demand,” said Miles. “The expansion of our advising staff and the expansion of this center confirms the priority the department places on making sure students are kept on a solid path to graduation.”
The expansion of the advising center meant Miles had to give up a prime office for less glamorous digs and reshuffle the department’s administrative offices, but he was clear about his purpose. “We wanted to make it a central space for the students,” he explained. “Now it is a place for them to seek guidance and inspiration.”
Miles joked that the redesign was meant to take advantage of a captive audience of students coming in for advising. “Why not give students waiting for their appointments a space where they can spend a few minutes seeing what their faculty can do?” he said.
Miles looks forward to a future for the gallery that includes a rotating series of exhibits. “Those could be exhibitions sampling art by multiple instructors or focusing on a body of work by one professor,” he suggested. “I also want to present shows focusing on the research and community efforts of the art education faculty, and the scholarly work of our art history faculty.”
Miles encourages the local community and campus to visit not only the new gallery but the nearby student galleries featuring five shows a week of student work displayed from Monday through Thursday, with opening receptions every Sunday at 5 p.m. Plans are forming for noontime chamber music concerts by students from the Cole Conservatory in the courtyard adjacent to the galleries.
“It is critical to get students to understand that to be an artist like Linda Adair Day is not just a matter of creating art but of presenting it,” said Miles. “Taking that step is the difference between being a talented individual engaged in a private practice and being someone who is shaping the culture of tomorrow.”
An endowed scholarship/award at CSULB is being established in Day’s name. Donations by check can be sent to Arléna Kauppi, Director of Development, College of the Arts, CSULB, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-2004. Checks should be made payable to “CSULB Foundation” and clearly marked “4 Linda A. Day Endowment.” For credit card donations, the CSULB Foundation has established a link specifically for online giving.