McDaniel is all about their students, and Hoover Library is no exception. The library has received artwork from alumni who wish to leave something behind at the school that shaped them into who they are today. An example of this is the acrylic paint mural by Ellen Elmes, a 1969 graduate, which prompted the new student special collection.
Ellen’s mural, titled “Weavings”, sits directly across from the librarians’ desk, and depicts “people, places, and events in the history of Western Maryland College since its inception in 1867.”
Along with the students’ work, there is the Mathews Collection, a collection of fine art including pieces from Turner, Daumier, and Picasso. There is also the Joe Brown Collection, a collection of athletic sculptures that are displayed on the second floor in the rotunda. The Meyers Collection can be found in front of the board room and includes Egyptian, Greek & Roman and Native American art. Finally, the Death Mask Collection, which has over 60 masks of prominent figures in European and American history, is in display on the second floor.
Since 2012, Director of Hoover Library Jessame Ferguson has been actively commissioning senior art work to be displayed in the building. During meetings with students about the renovation project, a common theme was to ask for more artwork; that is when the Special Collection of Student Art was created.
Andrea J. Briggs became the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian in 2015. She has taken over the selection, coordination, and organization of all the special collections within the library since September of 2015.
Her favorite collection to work with is the Student Collection however. Briggs, a 2014 McDaniel alumna, chooses one piece every year from the Senior and Honors Arts Exhibitions, with the input from other library staff members. They head off to Rice Gallery and “… just talk about it.”
She notes that some people simply look at the artwork’s obvious outer beauty while others look for the deeper meaning. “Some staff really look at the artist statement, so they may really like a piece because of the intention behind the piece and what it represents and the story.”
Once a consensus is reached, the library buys the piece of artwork with their gift budget, an account of donations, and then proceeds to mount it with the help of Gallery Director Steve Pearsons.
The Student Collection can be found throughout the library. On the first floor in the commons area hangs Kira Young’s “Control Implies Discipline.” The 2013 graduate wanted to look within herself to find what she’s ‘chained to’ and thus she gives examples like “attaining the ideal body image, an overflowing bank account, or a status of great power within the workplace”.
The following year, Julia Celebrado-Royer’s “Pamilya Diptych” now resides on the second floor by the main stairs. She used watercolors to show the imperfections of people’s childhood memories while still showing their importance and how they guide as adults.
Last year, two pieces of art were picked due to the exceptional work done by both students. Senior Juliana Ottomano created “2.0,” an acrylic piece to express her anxiety, something many students deal with, and many of the library staff connected with her intentions and the overall beauty of the work. Ottomano’s piece can be found in the first floor commons.
The second piece was from a freshman, Rachel Getz, who drew the inside of Hoover Library, and Briggs thought it would be most fitting within the First Stop office since they specifically help the freshman there. The piece is accurately named “Library Abstract.”
These pieces of art are made by students and are for the students’ enjoyment. Briggs talks about the overall goal of this collection by saying she wants to display what the students want to see and what inspires them.
There are plenty of pieces of art within the library that tell a story, express a feeling everyone has once in awhile, and connect us no matter the usual boundaries. So take a break from studying for finals this week and take a quick look around Hoover and experience what your fellow students have created.