Writing on the Wall: Text-based Works from the Collection, Curated by Niagara University Faculty

Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988). Jimmy Olsen, 1981, crayon and oil stick on paper, 18x24 1/4 in. Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University Collection, Gift of the Castellani Family, 1999.

Exhibit:  March 4, 2018 – July 29, 2018
Reception:  March 22, 2018 — 4:00pm - 6:00pm


Writing on the Wall: Text-based Works from the Collection, Curated by Niagara University Faculty means to highlight the potential dialogues between visual arts and academics, between museum and classroom, between image and text. Indeed, by combining image and text, the artists selected for this exhibition already offer us a multi-dimensional experience in which we simultaneously see and read, allowing for a dynamic dialogue between our emotions and our intellect.

With well over 5000 artworks in its permanent collection, the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is a veritable goldmine for university professors who wish to engage their students from and across multiple disciplines. Niagara University is dedicated to providing our students with an active and integrative learning experience. As educators in the Vincentian tradition, we believe in a holistic approach to learning, where we challenge students to think critically both in and outside the classroom and across disciplines. We focus not only on the facts and theories of our own disciplines, such as Biology and English, but on how they relate to other fields of study in an interactive and multi- or inter-disciplinary teaching model. A giant sculpture of an insect may provide an interesting springboard for an analytical discussion of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis; images of optical illusions may elucidate theories of human cognition and mental processes in a Psychology course; an exhibition of contemporary paintings of Niagara Falls may serve as an educational complement to a course in Environmental Science focusing on sustainable energy and environmental conservation.

A little over one year ago, a group of Niagara University faculty members from a range of different disciplines met with the Curator of Exhibitions and Special Projects at the Castellani Art Museum to discuss and eventually organize a new exhibition that would specifically explore the intersection between art and academics.  Over the years, faculty from all four colleges have incorporated individual pieces from the Castellani Art Museum collection in their coursework; however, there has never been one curated exhibition specifically showcasing the museum as an academic and pedagogical resource. With a broad-based focus on words, images, and ideas, intersections between various disciplines and perspectives emerge in this unique collaboration. As you explore the different sections of the exhibition and the various classroom assignments that are paired with artworks from the Castellani Art Museum collection, we invite you to think about how we see and read images and words together, and how this joining of the visual and the written allows for a more effective learning experience. 


 Participating Faculty

C. Henrik Borgstrom, Ph.D.

Professor of French

Jamie Carr, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Amelia Gallagher, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Marian Granfield, M.A.

Director of Art History with Museum Studies

Faculty Fellow, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts

Paula Kot, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Alison Lytle, MS. Ed.

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts

Edward Yong Jun Millar, M.A.

Curator of Folk Arts, Castellani Art Museum; Adjunct Faculty, Art History with Museum Studies, Department of Theatre Studies and Fine Arts