How often do we not pay attention to what we have in our own communities? For example, I want to spend more time in Savannah, Georgia, and visit Charleston, South Carolina. But I’ve not even visited the Bartlett House right here in Olean. There’s history in my town, but I’m focused on seeing history further afield. Perhaps you want to see the Louvre in Paris, but haven’t visited your local art gallery. Who knows what hidden gems might be on your doorstep?
Last month, we had the opportunity to visit the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the Saint Bonaventure Campus. I’d visited once before, but it had to be about ten years ago. I was all excited because I discovered a Holbein on the walls, and I also learned of an artist by the name of Hildreth Meiere and fell in love with many of her Art Deco works. Our reason for going was a social event, but I found myself spending more time around the artwork than socializing!
As with any gallery, there are always different exhibitions. Even with permanent exhibitions, the art itself is always being rotated. So there was no Holbein that I saw this time around. There was, however, a Rubens, which – to me – is equally impressive. It’s a reminder that we don’t need to travel halfway around the world to see old Masters.
New to me this time was the sculptor, John Rogers. It turns out he was considered “the people’s sculptor.” His 19th century “Rogers Groups” were mass-produced and sold at a price that made them affordable to the middle classes. The Quick Center has several of these copies and I was fascinated by the detail to be found in them. The one I photographed, Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations, turns out to be his most famous work. Not that I knew it at the time!
But the most poignant piece in the center was to be found in the Figures of Speech: The Language of Symbols exhibit on the second floor. Situated in front of a Peanuts cartoon, and surrounded by symbols of various cultures is a piece of metal with three letters cut into it. This symbol needs no explanation.
The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Saint Bonaventure University in western New York. It is free and open to the public. Opening hours are noon until five on weekdays and noon until four on weekends. Holiday hours may vary.