The Joseloff Gallery was built in the late-1980s as a part of the new Harry Jack Gray Center building on the campus of the University of Hartford. Under the direction of West Hartford architect Tai Soo Kim, and with the input of the newly appointed gallery director, Zina Davis, the Joseloff Gallery was created as a regional showcase for contemporary art.
Designed to be flooded with filtered light through offset skylights, and to have no right angles, the wide-open 3,500 square foot exhibition space was a modern jewel on campus. A grand, blank canvas on which to mount ambitious, innovative, and thought-provoking exhibitions of contemporary art.
The gallery opened in the spring of 1989 with a solo exhibition of the work of Milton Avery, and quickly established its reputation as one of the most distinguished university galleries of its size in the region. George McNeil, Arakawa, Aaron Siskind, Neil Welliver, Alfred Leslie, Jose Resende, John Coplans, Bettye Saar, Josef Albers… and this was just in the first four years!
Several important and exciting exhibition series were developed over the first several years of the Joseloff Gallery’s history. In 1989, through a generous gift of art enthusiast and Hartford attorney Alexander Goldfarb, the Annual Juried Student Show, (now called the Alexander A. Goldfarb Student exhibition), was established. In 1990, the visiting artists exhibition, titled the Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts at the Hartford Art School, (Koopman, for short), was initiated. This program brings invited artists to campus to exhibit their work and teach for a portion of the semester, rotating through the major disciplines offered at the Hartford Art School. A short time later, The Distinguished Artist Symposium and Exhibition was established. The DASE (for short) is a grand showcase for the work of internationally known artists featuring challenging themes and a week of lectures and discussions leading up to the gala opening of the exhibition.
The Joseloff Gallery has gained the attention of public audiences–as well as the highest regard from its peers–because of the caliber of its exhibitions and the outstanding artists it has attracted. It has enhanced the undergraduate and graduate education of students at the Hartford Art School and contributed to the cultural life of the city of Hartford and its environs. It is committed to incorporating a wide range of artistic expression into the educational process of the Hartford Art School, while reinforcing the importance of the visual arts in our society.
The Joseloff Gallery is an environment where students gain inspiration. Through lectures and gallery talks by critics, scholars, and visiting artists, students acquire an understanding of the context for interpreting the work. They not only see major artists, as well as new and emerging artists, they also gain a greater awareness of what it means to be an artist and what is required when artwork is exhibited professionally.
In late 2010, major change occurred at the Joseloff Gallery. Long-time director Zina Davis retired. Davis’s mark was left behind on every aspect of the Joseloff Gallery, including the impression she made on long-time gallery manager, Lisa Gaumond. Now charged with leading the gallery, Gaumond was promoted to managing director and has charged forth with the conviction to maintain the reputation of the Joseloff as professional gallery of the highest standards.
While respecting our past and maintaining our pride in where we’ve come from, the Joseloff Gallery looks forward to the excitement of the future ahead.