National Collage Society showcases collection in School of Art

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

Kasey Fahey

The National Collage Society is donating its collection to the School of Art so students can see collage as an art form, rather than an elementary craft.

“The collection objective is to make it a teaching collection,” said Shawn Gordon, director of advancement for the College of the Arts. “We can get out there and have it in the school system.”

The collection will be kept in the adjoining storage area within the gallery.

“There is a collection room of 4,000 pieces in the back that is very secure,” said Anderson Turner, director of galleries of the educational collection.

Gretchen Bierbaum, founder and president of the National Collage Society, received her art degree from Kent State. She studied watercolor after completing her degree because there wasn’t a program for collage. Bierbaum’s collage made of the entire Kent campus is in the Kent State Alumni Office.

Collage is any art with layers and glue. The term is from the French word, “coller,” meaning “to glue.”

The goal of the National Collage Society is to foster the appreciation and interest in collage, according to the foundation’s website. It wants to advance the understanding of collage as an art medium and educate the public through exhibits.

The National Collage Society, founded in 1984, is a nonprofit foundation funded by members who pay an annual fee. It has been having juried exhibits for 26 years.

An independent artist has to be in three of these exhibits in order to become a signature member. Only signature members were able to donate their work to the collection.

“There will be no moving truck involved,” Bierbaum said. “Artists will be shipping their work to Kent State. Our collection will be in a Birchwood mobile file, and it can be wheeled around to teach. The collection is professional artists’ work – it’s not children’s art. It has nothing to do with simplicity.”

Gordon said the collection is “absolutely phenomenal.”

Bierbaum said she wants to teach the world about art, especially collage because it has been ignored for a long time.

Collage was considered a fine art beginning in 1912, Bierbaum said. In 2012 the medium will “celebrate 100 years of an art no one understands.”

Contact Kasey Fahey at [email protected].