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Curran named director, Hand Art Center

Tonya CurranTonya Cribb Curran has been named full-time director of Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center. With a B.F.A. from Winthrop University, and a master’s degree in Museum Science from Texas Tech University, Curran brings 18 years of art management experience to Stetson’s major art gallery. She has worked in museums and galleries in states across the country, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, Texas and New York.

The Hand Art Center is the permanent home to Stetson’s extensive Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection of more than 1,000 original works by Modernist painter Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938). Vera Bluemner Kouba bequeathed her father’s works to Stetson University in 1997.

Curran will coordinate overseeing and the management of this permanent collection with Dr. Roberta Favis, curator of the Bluemner Collection. Curran will also plan and organize gallery exhibitions and will coordinate educational outreach programs with the outside community.

“The addition of Tonya to our staff will allow us to enhance the role of the Hand Art Center on the Stetson campus and in the wider DeLand community,” said Nathan Wolek, chair of Stetson’s Department of Creative Arts, and associate professor of Digital Arts. “I’m collaborating with Tonya on the development of new learning opportunities for our college students and others.”

“I’m so impressed with the vibrancy surrounding the Stetson art community,” Curran said. “I think the Hand Art Center is a phenomenal space with a great deal of potential,” she said. “In the future, I hope we can incorporate the installation of more cross-cultural work as well as more interdisciplinary exhibits,” Curran said.

As the first full-time director of the Hand Art Center, Curran will teach one course per year in the Department of Creative Arts. “This spring I will be teaching a special topics class on collections management,” she said.

“We will have a summer art exhibit showcasing a retrospective of work by art students who have graduated from the program,” Curran added.

Student and faculty/staff collections are also displayed for exhibitions in the Hand Art Center. The Center hosts Stetson’s annual Juried Student Art Exhibition as well as Senior Thesis exhibitions.

Located at 139 E. Michigan Ave., in the Palm Court of Stetson’s DeLand campus, the Hand Art Center’s regular hours of operation are Monday-Friday 11a.m.-4 p.m. Stetson University and the Hand Art Center will be closed for the Winter Holiday from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2, 2014. For more information about the Hand Art Center, call (386) 822-7270; or email director Tonya Curran at tcurran@stetson.edu.

by Maurie Murray