CLINTON, Iowa – It's a gem ... tucked away on the second floor of Clare Hall at Ashford University.
Cortona Gallery is both classroom and art display. Its director, Anna Pagnucci, is the head of the art department, so it's just natural for students to have this place to show their work and to learn about galleries in general.
The gallery hosts a yearly student and senior exhibit. Along with student art, Pagnucci invites other talent.
"I try to bring interesting artists and work to the Cortona to enhance the cultural experience of the students, campus and community as a whole," she said. "Most of these exhibits have an educational component which helps visitors understand the process of making art."
She said a recent exhibit of marionette puppets involved a display that demonstrated how to cast a head, create a skeleton, and dress a puppet, as well as a written discussion of the entire process.
Cortona exhibits usually are open for 1 to 2 months. That hasn't been the way this year has gone, though.
"We have had some exciting opportunities which involve a weeklong mini-exhibit created by the campus Psychology Club, as well as a student organization poster display," Pagnucci said.
Two recent displays have been the mini-exhibit, Optical Illusions, which illustrated the overlapping of art and science, and the work of students, faculty and staff.
The current exhibition is "Evolution," the work of Lana Caywood, who grew up in Missouri. Her watercolors, abstract artwork, and collages will be displayed through Feb. 1. There will be a reception for her from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the gallery.
Her exhibition shows the progression of her work over the past 20 years. It demonstrates how she grows and changes as the world around her changes.
Cortona Gallery is named for Sister Cortona Phelan, former president of Mount St. Clare College. Ashford University started in 1918 as a junior college for women under the name Mount St. Clare College. In 2005, its name became what it is today.