By Ainsley Green, Contributing Writer
On Wednesday, Sep. 13, the Schmucker Art Gallery held its first opening reception of the 2023-2024 academic year. A large crowd gathered in Schmucker Hall to enjoy refreshments and catch a glimpse of the art collection being unveiled.
“Drawing on the Susquehanna: Three Centuries of Artistic Inspiration and Commerce” is a collection of many mediums of artwork including oil paintings on canvas, wood engravings, hand colored lithographs and more. There are many other items in the display cases, including maps, books and engraving tools that show more of the history behind the art pieces. Captions next to the artifacts explain the significance of each item and give information about the Susquehanna River, from agriculture and botanical life to stories of war and conflict.
The reception began with opening remarks from Rob Evans, curator and organizer of the exhibition. Evans explained how the exhibit was meant to be viewed in a certain order to reflect a chronological history of the Susquehanna River.
“It tells a really intriguing narrative,” Evans said.
Viewers of the exhibit began at the entrance of the Schmucker Art Gallery where paintings of the Susquehanna River in its most natural state were displayed. Viewers then progressed around the room as the paintings demonstrated how the region took shape as Native inhabitants first lived in the region, European settlers colonized the land and as more conflict in American history had an impact on the land.
Evans was inspired to create a collection that told the story of the Susquehanna River because it has, as expressed in his personal statement, “a certain sublime quality and intangible mystique that sets it apart.” Evans is based in Wrightsville, PA and has works exhibited in notable public collections nationally and internationally, such as the National Gallery of Art and the San Francisco Art Museum.
“I became curious about the impact of this river on previous generations of artists,” Evans stated.
The result of this curiosity is an art exhibit that tells a fascinating history spanning from the early seventeenth century to the present day.
“Drawing on the Susquehanna: Three Centuries of Artistic Inspiration and Commerce” will be on display in the Schmucker Art Gallery until Dec. 8 for the entire Gettysburg community to enjoy.