Search the Collection:
Kessler Center Curated Collection in Puyallup, curated by Lucile Chich, 2023
"Every curated project starts with a seed, a central and pivotal point from which the collection flows in more than one direction. At the Kessler Center, it was important that the art collection should reflect, mirror, and uplift the mission and the daily experiences of the dedicated staff, and the families that come through the center. The seed, in this instance, flowered through the work of Beth Anna Margolis, a painter and poet from Bellingham, Washington. Her story reached and moved members of the committee (Margolis also has Down Syndrome). The work of Margolis became the original motivation for an art collection based on joy, color, and the inclusion of a marginalized population within the arts community. It was critical to the project and to the committee that my research be inclusive, and that the collection celebrate artists who are experiencing disability – whether physical, neurological, or intellectual – and use the transformative powers of artmaking to transcend, to heal, to rejoice.
The Kessler Center Curated Collection is intended to confront and transcend the narrative that would deem disability an impediment to creative expression. Intentionally, however, not all the pieces in the collection are by artists dealing with disability or about disability as a subject matter. The collection displays a diverse array of media, from the bronze-cast piece by Andy Cooperman whose work bluntly addresses his degenerative condition that led to a partial loss of eyesight, to the abstract painting by disability art advocate Marie Conner, to June Sekiguchi’s delicate three-dimensional wall piece. The works of Camilla Jerome, Erin Dengerink, and Junko Yamamoto bring a subtle poetry to the pristine walls of the Kessler Center.
As an eclectic body of work, the Kessler Center Curated Collection aims at reflecting the range of the individual experiences walking in and out of the center every day. And, if anything, it teaches us that beauty is and should always be accessible to all."
–Lucile Chich, curator for the Kessler Center in Puyallup, Puyallup School District, in Pierce County, Western Washington (October 2023).
The local Art Selection Committee for the Kessler Center wanted a collection based on joy, color, and the inclusion of a marginalized population within the arts community. It was critical to the committee that the collection celebrate artists who are experiencing disability and use the transformative powers of artmaking to transcend, to heal, to rejoice.