Transy grad Burke finds art preserving memories

We’ve all experienced the loss of a treasured relationship, be it the passing of a family member or a childhood friend moving away. A new exhibit on campus pays tribute to such connections.

Preserved, an exhibition of memory capsules, by alumnus Kathleen Burke, will be available for public viewing in the Shearer Art Gallery until January 27th.

In her position as a Post-Graduate Studio Assistant at Transylvania, Burke has been encouraged to create an exhibition. Burke’s idea for this show came out of some private misfortunes such as separation from college friends after her graduation in 2010, and the passing of her grandfather.

“I was playing around with ideas of memory and using mason jars. I was originally going to can my own childhood memories, but then after talking to so many people about my experiences regarding the many people who have come in and out of my life I realized the show could be something that my experiences in this regard were not unique and that show could become an opportunity to engage people in a creative way to represent the memories of those who were influential in their life,” Burke said.

The project of collecting memory capsules began as early as last November, and several members of Transylvania and the surrounding community participated.

Administrative Assistant for Transylvania’s Social Science Department, Susan Hofmann, contributed a capsule dedicated to the Voyager Spacecraft Team, who she worked with for 13 years.

“To work on any team with a group of people is in itself is a rewarding experience, but working with the men & women of Voyager Spacecraft was the most fulfilling experience I’ve had – we were equals and we were a family…  We knew the whole was more important than the one, whether you were an engineer, scientist, the director or secretary your job was just as important as the next for the health & flow of our team and the success of the project.  We felt it, we lived it,” said Hofmann.

April York, a Transylvania senior, created a capsule memorializing her grandfather, who passed away in March 2010. Because her grandfather was a farmer, York chose to include some earth and hay from her family’s farm in her capsule.

“As I have reflected on our relationship since losing him, my connection to our family farm has deepened because of what a true part of him the farm was. To me, there was nothing that would represent him better,” York said.

“It has been a fantastic process and every jar I get back is so interesting and meaningful,” Burke said, “I have been surprised by the number of people who have taken this very seriously and by the amount of time people have spent on the details of their capsules. Seeing them all together is more powerful than I could have imagined.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public on weekdays between 8:30 am and 4 pm.

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