ACM Pedagogic Resources > ACM SAIL > 2012 Seminar > Seminar Group > Lesley Wright

Lesley Wright

Director, Faulconer Gallery
Grinnell College

I have directed the Faulconer Gallery for 13 years, arriving as the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts opened in 1999. I oversee a staff of 4.5 professionals and we program the gallery and other spaces on campus year-round with exhibitions of contemporary and historic art. My training is in American art history from Swarthmore College (BA) and Stanford University (MA, PhD), where my dissertation focused on late 19th-century genre paintings. I have curated exhibitions for 20 years, primarily of contemporary art, and at Grinnell I have developed three major exhibitions of contemporary Midwestern art, as well as exhibitions with Brazilian, Portuguese, and American artists. I have a particular interest in regional art and have worked closely with a number of artists who investigate prairie fauna in their work.

As a curator, I am attracted to art that crosses and challenges boundaries. In 2009, I taught a summer faculty workshop on curating to faculty in English, German, Art, Biology and the libraries. In recent years, I've been particularly involved in projects that link art and science. Last spring, Jackie Brown and I developed a faculty-faculty tutorial on "Darwin and Visual Culture." I'll bring a range of skills in reading visual material to the seminar, an interest in animals as carriers of complex meanings, and an ability to develop successful interdisciplinary projects.

At Grinnell, as a Lecturer in the Art Department, I teach a course in Museum Studies that makes use of our collection as well as collections across campus. I've also participated in the team-taught Environmental Challenges and Responses course. I am taking advantage of the SAIL seminar to develop an upper-division seminar for Fall 2012 called "Captured Creatures." The seminar will explore images of animals in art from a multi-disciplinary perspective, and the students will be expected to develop an exhibition that presents animals in a way that reflects Animal Studies as much as Art History or Museum Studies. Since much of my work is administrative and curatorial, I'm looking forward to the chance to be a faculty member for 10 days, learning from others more broadly and bringing that learning to my teaching next fall. I have no doubt the SAIL seminar will lead to future projects for Faulconer Gallery and faculty across campus.