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An artist among us: Barbara Spencer ends Pearsons longest showing

May 30, 2011

barb spencer 

For 16 years, Barbara Spencer’s artwork has been hiding in plain sight. The former off-campus studies advisor (she retired last May) has been displaying her fiber artwork in the Mathers room of Pearsons for years, but few people realized it was hers.

“I’ve been hiding!” she jokes, “Even though there’s been a tag with my name on it for years and years.”

Spencer has been creating woven and off-loom fiber art for about four decades, and has also had shows in Pearsons’ Hales Gallery. “I’ve been showing at art fairs for years,” she adds.Her pieces have also cropped up everywhere from the Admissions Office to a local bank to Yaffa Grossman’s office. She’s rotated seven or eight pieces at a time in Mathers. “I change it about once every year, year and a half,” she says.

Last Thursday, however, Spencer’s run in Mathers came to an end, as she carefully took down woven-basket-like creations—an homage, she said, to some of the Logan Museum’s collections. The choice was hers; she says the room is a prominent one, and she thinks it’d be a great space to share some of the college’s myriad unique student and alumni stories.

“We have really great stories, and I think this would be a super place [to tell them],” she says.

barb spencer 1Director of Residential Life John Winkelmann says Spencer’s ongoing installation was the longest in Pearsons’ history. “I'm sure we have all gazed on these works as we listened carefully to the happenings in Mathers,” he wrote in a message to campus. “They have added an intricate and thoughtful quality to this meeting space.”

For now, Winkelmann is seeking suggestions for what will next grace the walls of Mathers.

“Our plan is to transition to using student art in this space next year, and we are currently seeking suggestions from all to get this process moving,” he says.