Blake Shell, an art gallery curator with experience in Portland, Vancouver, Arizona and Georgia, has been named the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Director and Curator of The Art Gym and Belluschi Pavilion at Marylhurst University. She will join the university December 16.
Shell replaces current Art Gym curator Terri Hopkins, who is retiring after 33 years directing the gallery. Under Hopkins' leadership, The Art Gym has become a regionally renowned gallery showcasing the work of contemporary Northwest artists.
Shell currently works as project manager for The Stroemple Art Collection in Portland, managing a collection of 1,700 artworks. She also provides curatorial assistance at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery at Lewis & Clark College. Previously, Shell spent three years as director of the Archer Gallery at Clark College in Vancouver, and three years as director and curator of the Joseph Gross and Lionel Rombach Galleries at the University of Arizona, where she also taught gallery management and photography. She has managed other galleries in Tucson and Savannah, Ga. Shell earned an MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
"We are extremely pleased to recruit a curator of Blake's caliber to steward The Art Gym through the coming years," said Paul Sutinen, director of Marylhurst University art programs and co-chair of the Department of Art & Interior Design. "Terri Hopkins has made The Art Gym a key institution for the study of Northwest art, and we are confident that under Blake's leadership,
The Art Gym will continue to program the kind of innovative exhibitions that have made our gallery such a vital part of the art community."
"Blake Shell is an energetic, creative and skilled curator," commented Hopkins. "Several years ago, the shows she organized for the Archer Gallery at Clark College in Vancouver drew my attention and led to my belief that when the time came, there were amazing young curators ready to take The Art Gym into the future. I am very pleased to pass the baton to Blake and am excited to see her take on the contemporary art of our region."
"I feel honored to follow in the footsteps of Terri Hopkins," Shell said. "The Art Gym is a beautiful space and most importantly, a leading venue for contemporary artwork in the Northwest. I look forward to continuing the practice of bringing exciting programming to The Art Gym and supporting regional artists."
Hopkins will work with Shell through mid-January to ensure a smooth leadership transition and to oversee the launch of The Art Gym's winter exhibition featuring the work of Native American artists Rick Bartow, Wendy Red Star, Nicholas Galanin, Terrance Houle and others. The exhibition opens January 12.
About Marylhurst University
Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university 10 miles south of Portland, Ore., on Highway 43, is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence in serving adult learners. Founded in 1893, Oregon's oldest Catholic university serves nearly 1,400 multigenerational students of all faiths and backgrounds. Marylhurst offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificate programs on campus and online, all of which integrate the liberal arts with professional studies and prepare graduates to be ethical leaders who think critically and creatively.