Elynne Rosenfeld hopes her time as curator of the D’Arrigo Family Gallery in the Hafter Student Community Center
on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, campus provided another perspective on life.
"For the students, faculty and staff that are not artists, it gave them something to ponder and to wonder at,” said Rosenfeld. “And, at the very least it added some color to the wall, and I think everybody needs color.”
After more than six years as the gallery’s curator, Rosenfeld is retiring from that part of her career. The final display in the gallery was taken down at the end of August, 2023.
About eight years ago, Rosenfeld organized a group show at the University’s Looking Out for Kids charity fundraiser in which a portion of the proceeds going to the charity. That got the attention of Salus president, Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MBA, MPH, FAAO, FACHE
“Following that event, Dr. Mittelman said, ‘Hey why don’t you run the gallery for us,’ and I said sure,” said Rosenfeld.
It was indeed a natural fit. Rosenfeld, who has a bachelor’s degree in art from Rice University and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Massachusetts, has been creating artwork nearly her whole life. She’s also been curating and hanging art exhibitions in the area for quite a while. She is currently co-director of the Montgomery County Guild of Professional Artists’ 431 Gallery in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and prior to that was co-director of ArtForms Gallery Manayunk and President of Artists Equity Association.
"I think artists are driven. When you’ve done it your whole life, when it’s the thing that everyone has defined you as from earliest memory — it tends to be ingrained. Unlike other careers, art has a physical presence that folks can point to and say, ‘Look what you do’ and that becomes what you do. Whether that is for better or worse, you figure out later,” she said.
During her time as curator, she said she really enjoyed connecting with the artists for exhibits in the D’Arrigo Family Gallery.
"I have always liked hanging work,” said Rosenfeld. “To me, an exhibition is a larger artwork, a composition that’s expanding to a wall. It’s lots of fun when you’re dealing with other artists’ work because each time it poses a different challenge.”
She hopes the exhibits that were hung in the gallery over the years has resonated with Salus students, faculty and staff. Especially meaningful to her were the three annual “Community Expressions” shows in which work was culled from the entire Salus family; students, faculty, staff and their significant others. The receptions for these shows brought everyone together for a couple of hours to discuss and enjoy each other’s work.
"Students tend to worry about academics and their careers and what’s coming ahead, especially in a science school,” said Rosenfeld. “A lot of the students probably have some artistic ability and chose to go in a more practical career direction for them, one that I applaud and respect. The gallery gave them something else to look at and think about that is probably near and dear to them.”