Cummings Art Gallery Reopens

Annie Markel, Contributing Writer

Art is all around Mercyhurst Campus if you only look. The stain glass windows of Christ the King Chapel, the iron work of the signature Mercyhurst gates or even student art around different campus buildings.

One very special room where some incredible art is gathered into one place is the Cummings Art Gallery in Zurn Hall. This modern gallery is full of art that has been brought to the campus to be seen by students, faculty, alumni and the public.

The Cummings Art Gallery was founded by Sister Angelica Cummings in 1926, the very same year that Mercyhurst itself was founded. It was made to be a sanctuary for art majors and art lovers alike.

Soon, the exhibits would be recognized throughout the country and abroad. The gallery was named after the Sister of Mercy herself in 1984 and has continued to grow ever since.

The gallery offers students, alumni and faculty a platform to showcase their art pieces. However, the chance to display one’s work actually goes beyond the Mercyhurst gates.

Regional and national artists also send their work to our campus to be displayed. Some of the artists this semester hold special ties to Mercyhurst and/or are incredible people that deserve much recognition.

This year is a major catch-up for the gallery. In the Spring of 2020, the gallery was shut down due to Covid-19. Then in the Fall of 2020, it was closed to accommodate music lessons that required social distancing.

This may not seem like a big deal; however, it certainly was to the artists that missed an opportunity for exposure. Students that were promised to show their art were unable to do so. This is a long-standing tradition in the Art Department, so you can assume how disappointed the students were when they heard they would not be recognized for their hard work.

However, this fall semester, the gallery is making a big comeback. The exhibit for 2021 is centered around the year that was lost to the pandemic. The exhibit “Highlights from The Year That Was Missed”, will be on view Thursday, Sept. 9 through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

This exhibit focuses on some alumni that showed their work at the Erie Art Museum this summer. The Erie Art Museum understood the impact of the loss on both the graduates and the community. That is why, in 2021, they partnered with western Pennsylvania universities to bring this exhibition, “The Year that was Missed”, to the Erie Art Museum.

From May 8 to Aug. 21, fifteen artists from the classes of 2020 and 2021 were welcomed to show their theses in the Erie Art Museum’s Custom House. At the close of the exhibit in the Custom House, the Cummings Art Gallery invited MU alumni to re-install their work here at Mercyhurst like promised.

Nine of the fifteen alumni accepted the invitation and have brought part or all of their artwork to the Cummings Art Gallery to campus for the fall semester. Supporters came to help students and alumni in celebrating their work with an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 5-7 pm in the Cummings Art Gallery in Zurn Hall.

The featured alumni are Kim Bennett, Laura Fredericks, Evan Hartono, Kaitlyn Kirchmeir, Kathleen Kiska, Hannah McCall, Matthew Mellish, Alexis Nader and Eric Olson. See if you can match the art to the alum!

The Cummings Gallery will continue to be open through the fall semester. Gallery hours for the fall semester are Mondays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays through Fridays, 12p.m. to 4p.m. However, the gallery is closed Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

For more information, contact the Cummings Art Gallery Director, Jessica Stadtmueller. Hope to see you there!