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Introducing the Presidential Collection

An oil painting with subtle blue and yellow streaks highlighting a deep gray landscape hangs over the living room fireplace against a Keaney blue wall. The unique abstract is one of 40 pieces of art created by URI students, faculty, and alumni that are displayed throughout President David M. Dooley’s and the Rev. Lynn Baker-Dooley’s home on Upper College Road.

Artists featured in the collection:

Ben Anderson, Barrington R.I., Faculty

Jeffrey Bertell, Wakefield R.I., Faculty

Michelle Caraccia, Narragansett R.I., Student

David DeMelim ’09, Charlestown R.I., Alumnus

Robert Dilworth, Providence R.I., Faculty

Erik Giorgi, Riverside R.I., Student

Ron Hutt, N. Providence R.I., Faculty

Brian Kenny, Exeter R.I., Student

Valerie Kitchin ’08, N. Smithfield, Alumna

William Klenk, Wakefield R.I., Faculty

Victoria Lockard ’07, Providence R.I., Alumna

Annu Matthew, Providence R.I., Faculty

Ian Mohon, Providence R.I., Student

Brian O’Malley, Greenville R.I., Faculty

Titiloa Oyegunle, Providence R.I., Student

Barbara Pagh, Wakefield R.I., Faculty

Katie Picard, Warwick R.I., Student

Gary Richman, Exeter R.I., Faculty

Lilla Samson, Wakefield R.I., Faculty

Brendan Sullivan ’09, Holden, Mass., Alumnus

“When we first walked around the house, the dining room space immediately looked like a gallery to us,” said Baker-Dooley. The Dooleys spoke with the chair of URI’s Art and Art History Department Bob Dilworth, who made the idea a reality by putting out a call for entries last summer.

“The presidential collection is the first of its kind at URI. I think it sends a powerful message to the state and the region, “ Dilworth said. “It’s a strong show highlighting only a fraction of the best work of our faculty, students, and alumni. It could very well add much to the already rich culture that exists in the state. Being a leader means setting standards. I think the Dooleys and the University are well ahead of other institutions with this initiative.”

The exhibit will be bi-annual with a rotation of the artwork to allow new work to be showcased. However, the student works will be up for at least a year. Of the 40 pieces in the exhibit, 28 were created by URI students and alumni.

“It was funny seeing my work hanging. As I went through the process, the idea that my work would be a vital piece of art in the University president’s house astonished me, “ said student artist Erik Giorgi of Riverside.

Attention Alumni Artists

The URI Art and Art History Department invites you to submit your work for consideration for its online gallery. A selection committee will review submissions. The gallery can be a great professional resource and can serve as a way to network and show your art to future employers, graduate schools, art residencies, internships, galleries, or museums. Interested? Contact Bob Dilworth at 401.874.5821 or bobman2@mail.uri.edu.

The Dooleys have always had an appreciation for the arts. “I think we have both had a longstanding interest in the stories that are told through art, in how artists express themselves and comment on the state of the world when they create their work. All of that is fascinating,” said the URI president.

Artists struggle to get work viewed by the public. The Dooleys hope to help by hosting this exhibit, which can be viewed in an online gallery as well. Most pieces are for sale and prices are available for anyone who is interested by contacting the artist directly. The online gallery functions as a high-traffic area for students to display their current work to entice prospective employers, help with graduate school applications and internships, or to gain artist residencies.

“Any opportunity to showcase my artwork is very much appreciated,” said student artist Katie Picard of Warwick, who has two of her portraits hanging in the president’s house. “The online gallery is beneficial to me as a prospective student for graduate schools.”

The Art Department is creating a tabletop photography book containing the art on exhibit at the president’s house with the biographies on each artist, including other students. The proceeds from the book will go toward several scholarships for URI art students.

A series of historical photographs from the University Library’s Department of Special Collections will also hang throughout the president’s house. Baker-Dooley’s favorite shows Robert Frost speaking with students in the Memorial Union, while a photo of an old chemistry lab caught the eye of the president, a biochemist.

“It was very educational for us,” said Baker-Dooley of the archival collection. “We hope it will really get people to appreciate how far the University has come since its founding,” remarked the president, “how much it’s changed, how the University has grown and expanded its reach.”

“The exhibition is a very visible symbol of a new beginning,” Dilworth said. “Visual arts, and by extension, film, the performing arts, music, and other creative forms will play a much more vital role in defining URI’s place in the world.”

The Dooleys continue to look for other opportunities for the URI community to be a part of the house. “We want this to be a home that is open to the community, that involves them, that welcomes them and welcomes guests to the University,” Dooley said. “We want everyone to have an opportunity to be in the home at some point.”

The couple hope to get a piano for the house, as they both love music and want their home to be a place where students feel comfortable playing and practicing.

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