Two CVPA students to intern at Dorothy Gillespie’s studio in the Catskills

Dorothy Gillespie's studio in the Catskills
Dorothy Gillespie's studio in the Catskills

Two College of Visual and Performing Arts students are interning at Roanoke-native Dorothy Gillespie’s studio in the Catskills, located in Narrowsburg, New York.

Ally Amick ’18 and Dalon Hall, an art alum and a current art student, respectively, are participating in the internship this summer from June 25-July 15. During their time at the Catskills studio, the Amick and Hall will spend the mornings working on the Gillespie metal sculpture collection and afternoons crafting their own art, drawing inspiration from their surroundings.

The studio was originally built as Gillespie’s summer retreat studio 25 years ago on four acres of land, which houses portions of Gillespie’s work from her extensive and distinguished career.

The Roanoke native always felt a connection to Radford University – that connection, stronger than ever – led her son, Gary Israel, to search for a way to help lay the foundation for future artists. Gillespie passed away six years ago, leaving Israel – and his brother and sister – the Dorothy Gillespie Foundation. Upon her passing, the foundation received all of her artwork and other materials.

“If you look at the totality of her life, you can almost see that in the studio,” Israel said of the Catskills retreat. “The studio houses artifacts of her expansive collection – which needs archiving and documentation. That’s where the internship comes into play.”

The interns will also visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they will receive a guided tour. The interns will visit the campus of Rutgers University to view the Miriam Schapiro archives on female artists. The archive is home to Gillespie’s archives, which include newspaper articles, press releases, art magazines and journals, artist statements, photographs and other personal items.

“I’m looking forward to getting experience handling art,” Amick said. “Our job is to clean and catalogue all of it. I’m looking forward to getting that experience under my belt. A lot of what we discussed in our classes was women in art and the absence of that, I think it is really important to work with her art. She’s an artist I have admired for a long time.”

For Hall, the internship is putting him into a different environment, as he’s never traveled further north than Washington, D.C. before.

“Leaving the state is a big deal for me,” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to making connections with seasoned artists in that area – that’s one of the things I told [Israel] during the interview stage of the internship process was making those connections with other people.”

It’s an honor to live where she lived and to be able to handle her work. We’re given the trust to be able to do that independently.

Ally Amick

Hall hopes to use the environment in the Catskills to impact his own artwork.

“I want to use the opportunity to create artwork while I’m there to create artwork for my senior portfolio review and exhibition in the spring,” he said. “I’m hoping the interactions I have up in New York will influence the work that I am trying to do right now and broaden my horizons.”

The interns’ differing goals for the internship are exactly what Israel was looking for when he designed the internship opportunity for students – all while honoring his mother’s legacy.

“It's really open ended with what they can learn,” Israel said. “You can touch the portraits she made in the 40s and see the history of her life. It's an opportunity for Radford students to learn theoretically about artists, especially female artists, and this is an opportunity for them to really learn about Dorothy.”

Jun 25, 2018
Max Esterhuizen