'Then and Now' photo exhibition to mark college's sesquicentennial

SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Art Gallery will highlight the college’s sesquicentennial celebration with an exhibition of pairs of photographs showing progress and change at SUNY Oswego over the decades.

“Then and Now: A Sesquicentennial Celebration” will run June 3 to July 1 in Tyler’s south gallery. The free exhibition will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Friday and Saturday of Reunion Weekend, June 10 and 11. Otherwise, call 312-2113 or 312-2112 to make an appointment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Art exhibition photo from 1958.The idea for the exhibition springs from a “Then & Now” presentation of photo pairs and captions sent to SUNY Oswego faculty, staff and students beginning in the spring semester.

For example, one pair, titled “Open Air Learning,” presents an early 20th century “then” image of a classroom with the windows open in the winter, and students bundled up in “Eskimo suits, wool blankets or sleeping bags”—an educational fad whose proponents believed cold air could better stimulate students mentally. The photo is juxtaposed with a “now” outdoor scene of three students participating in a survey of flora and fauna at a SUNY Oswego Global Laboratory in Brazil’s Pantanal, a vast wetland.

Penfield Library’s Special Collections provided most of the “then” images. Jim Russell, staff photographer at SUNY Oswego since 1989, made most of the contemporary images. Russell began as a freelancer with the college in 1983, the year he received his bachelor of fine arts degree from SUNY Oswego. He won numerous awards for his community newspaper and SUNY Oswego work.

Art exhibition from 2011.The exhibition will appear with the support of the Office of the President, the Oswego Alumni Association, the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee and the art department.

Edward Austin Sheldon founded the Oswego Primary Teachers’ Training School in 1861. His object-learning method, know as the Oswego Method, became world famous for its advantages over rote memorization.

For more information about the sesquicentennial, including a calendar of events, an interactive timeline, video and more, visit http://www.oswego.edu/150.

PHOTO CAPTION 1:  Then … — The caption for this image from SUNY Oswego’s 1958 Ontarian yearbook discussed the Student Art Exhibition Association’s role in presenting shows throughout the year in the Hewitt Union main lounge. Since the institution’s earliest years, art has infused Oswego’s academic realm. The faculty that year included a young artist named Roy Lichtenstein, later to become world famous for his influential pop art. (Penfield Library Special Collections)

PHOTO CAPTION 2: … and now—Currently part of SUNY Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts, the art department offers bachelor’s degrees in art and in graphic design and a master’s in art, and collaborates with the School of Education on an MAT in art education and a new undergraduate concentration. Students and faculty exhibit throughout the year in Tyler Art Gallery—which opened in the late 1960s—as well as new exhibition spaces at Oswego State Downtown and the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse. (SUNY Oswego photo by Jim Russell)

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(Posted: May 23, 2011)

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