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Since its founding in 1962, the Friends of the Davison Art Center (FDAC) has been devoted to the growth and public enjoyment of the DAC collection through a wide variety of events for both its members and the greater community.  The primary mission of the FDAC is to expand and promote the Davison Art Center collection at Wesleyan University.  Learn more about the FDAC here.

Become a Friend

Please join the Friends!  As a member, you support the acquisition of new works for the DAC collection.  With a volunteer Board of Directors and minimal overhead expense, the FDAC directs a high percentage of its membership dues directly to its mission.  Wesleyan students can join the FDAC free of charge – click here to become a student member today!


The Friends of the Davison Art Center coordinate the second student-curated exhibition of work created by current students. Addison McDowell ’16 will serve as curator, guided by Sasha Rudensky, Assistant Professor of Art and Friends of the Davison Art Center board member.
Jim Dine (American 1935 - ). Tool Box IX,  Screenprint and collage. 1966

Jim Dine (American, born 1935) . Tool Box IX, Screenprint and collage. 1966. Gift of Ruth and Jack L. Solomon, M.D., 1984. © Copyright Jim Dine

Inspired by the works of Jim Dine in our collection, students will investigate artist’s tools for this show. Tools are objects that were created to be used, and for many, it would be impossible to make art without them. The experience of using a tool can be an incredibly intimate and exciting one. Each tool contains the implication of human use: they were intended to work in our hand. Some tools have been refined through centuries of use and have incredibly economic, efficient forms. Others, by contrast, still have many quirks. News tools, particularly digital ones, can be incredibly difficult to learn and frustrating to use, but it may be all the more satisfying when fluency is achieved.

Eight student artists are exploring a wide range of tools from pencils and erasers, to Photoshop and the printing press. Some are studying the formal beauty of their object and are immersing themselves in specificity: its form, function, and manner of use. Others are considering their tool as a departure point for a broader meditation on the themes of alteration, control, and influence. Still others are using their tool as an entrance to the historical practice of creation.

Featuring the work of Lydie Blundon ’16, Harrison Carter ’17, Miles Cornwall ’15, Molly Grund ’16, Samantha Ho ’16, Isaac Pollan ’15, Evan Ortiz ’16, and Virgil Taylor ’15.

Join us:
Opening Reception: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 5pm to 7pm
Davison Art Center, Hallway Gallery

Exhibition open:
Tuesday, November 18 through Sunday, December 7, 2014
(closed November 25 through December 1 for Thanksgiving)

Reflections by Tess Altman ’17, volunteer in the FDAC Docent Program

Note: The FDAC Docent Program has been a stronghold within the Friends’ mission for over four decades. Each fall, FDAC docents (both Wesleyan students and other members of our community) give tours of the DAC gallery exhibitions and other Wesleyan spaces to fourth graders from Middletown-area schools.

Exhibit One — Call to Action: American Posters in WWI

  1.  The gold shield with an eagle on it is in fact a very very large quarter.
  2. Advertisements sell us “cheap stuff.”
  3. As we leave the DAC, it is raining and therefore we must shriek and scream bloody murder — it only makes sense, really.

Exhibit Two – A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair

  1. Sometimes icebergs look like pizza. Sometimes everything looks like pizza when it’s almost lunchtime.
  2. The fight for a certain colored pencil is respectful, but intense.

Exhibit Three — Center for East Asian Studies: Not of This World

  1. When told to picture one’s “happy, relaxed place” in the meditation room, that location is often a fast food chain — sometimes it’s McDonalds, other times it’s FroyoWorld. One day you might meditate to a Big Mac and the next to sprinkles and Oreo crumbs.
  2. We like ghosts. Ghosts are cool.
  3. I draw a pretty mean smiley face (or so I hear).
  4. Eleven year olds can go to college and therefore could hypothetically go to Wesleyan. But only if one is a ‘child prodigy’
Am I a child prodigy? Nope.
Am I Eleven? Nope.
Am I Eighteen? Close.
Am I Nineteen? Yes.
Do I live here (in the Tatami Room)? No. I wish.                                                       


If I did live there, I could perpetually dream of frozen yogurt and French fries, but, alas, I only get to dream like this once a week — with fourth graders.


IMAGE: Tula Telfair, “Civilization Could Not Do Without It,” 2014, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 inches.

Tula Telfair, Civilization Could Not Do Without It, 2014, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 inches. Currently on view in Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan through December 7.
Click here to learn more about the exhibition.



Contributed by FDAC Board Member Sharifa T. Lookman ’17

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999) Seven dye transfer prints and one gelatin silver print, ca. 1950-1980. Gift of Charles Traub in honor of his Wesleyan associates, colleagues, students, and friends, including Edoardo Ballerini (B.A. 1992), Luigi Ballerini (B.A. 1962), Martha Fleming-Ives (B.A. 2009), Thomas Huhn (Professor of Philosophy and Letters), Jonathan Lipkin (B.A. 1992), Danae Oratowski (B.A. 1992), David Rhodes (B.A. 1968), David Schorr (Professor of Art), and Sarah Schorr (B.A. 2003), 2013

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Providence, 1984. Dye transfer print. Gift of Charles Traub in honor of his Wesleyan associates, colleagues, students, and friends, including Edoardo Ballerini (B.A. 1992), Luigi Ballerini (B.A. 1962), Martha Fleming-Ives (B.A. 2009), Thomas Huhn (Professor of Philosophy and Letters), Jonathan Lipkin (B.A. 1992), Danae Oratowski (B.A. 1992), David Rhodes (B.A. 1968), David Schorr (Professor of Art), and Sarah Schorr (B.A. 2003), 2013. © The Estate of Harry Callahan; courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York


Recently the Wesleyan University Davison Art Center was given seven photographs by the influential American photographer and teacher, Harry Callahan (1912-99). Callahan is best known for his precise prints that quote the everyday: a window, a cityscape, or a woman’s face mid-speech, but with an added journalistic and psychological weight.

One of the recent gifts, Providence, 1984, is a color print that depicts the Rhode Island cityscape. Immediately, the perspective of the photograph is noteworthy: the viewer, and therefore at one point the artist himself, is situated right in the midst of the architecture. Within this context the viewer is not a passive observer, but rather a willing participant in the industrial scene.

The composition further accentuates this notion of industrial form. The right hand side is consumed by a building’s façade that then flows into a layered collage of buildings. Callahan is renowned for his emphasis on line and form, elements that are highlighted in this piece through the repetition of small rectangular windows on the building’s frontal plane. This photograph is particularly unique because it does not have a lot of contrast between light and dark, apart from selective shadows of the building. Instead, holistically the value of the composition is relatively consistent. This formal element also relates to the palette. Even with the addition of the highlight of sky, the palette is relatively monochromatic in neutral grays and blues. The theme of industrialization elevates the image to a societal and environmental study, a quality inherent in much of Callahan’s work.

Callahan rarely wrote his thoughts about his work: instead, his work is documentation in itself, proving to be an exploration into his life, his steps, and his sights. He immortalized the things that caught his eyes, both fleeting and meditative. As a result, his works are simple and evocative, and yet they are laced with and pervaded by a sense of intrigue and inquiry.

Callahan’s photographs will add significantly to the Davison Art Center collection, teaching Wesleyan students, both in and out of the art and art history departments, to stop and look around. In addition to being evocative and captivating, his artistic canon is full of inspirational snapshots that remind us to look up every once in a while and remember the forgotten and appreciate the horrors, beauties, and mysteries that imbue our familiar, and yet somehow forever foreign, surroundings.

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