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Art in Odum Library

by Michael Holt on August 16, 2011 in Odum Library

If you have been in the library at all this semester, you have probably noticed a lot of paintings, sculpture, and even a few photographs hanging on the walls.

All of the art currently on display in the library is available for your enjoyment thanks to the hard work of the Odum Library Art Committee and the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections.

Deborah Davis, university archivist and head of the library’s art committee, has provided some information about the art and why it’s hanging in the library.

Overview of what’s hanging on the walls in Odum Library:

The Lamar Dodd Collection

Lamar Dodd Collection Logo

The Lamar Dodd Collection on First Floor North: 20 paintings and prints from a variety of significant 20th century (and a few 19th) artists. These works were given to us by Lamar Dodd, head of the UGA art department, and his daughter Irene Dodd, of the VSU Art Department. This is an interconnected collection featuring the works of artists who knew each other and sometimes worked together. It is a very valuable collection and contains examples of various schools and styles from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. Please be sure to read the biographies and signs beside the pictures.

The Ross Rosenberg Collection

The Ross Rosenberg collection on Second Floor North: 15 Very Big Paintings and Drawings, 15 very tiny drawings, and two sculptures. All of these works are studies in texture, from fine graphite to thick oil stick. They all deal with childhood memories and the intersection between memory and the unconscious. These works are at once both comforting and menacing. Please check out the signs for Rosenberg’s comments about the works.

“For the Love of Books,” by Amelia Amaki

Created in memory and honor of William H. Mobley, IV. This piece is located in the Hub Gallery Area, 2nd Floor North.

In addition to these collections, there is also a four-item exhibit of items from the Charles and Jeannette Kessler Collection of East Asian Art located in the Hub Gallery Area, 2nd Floor North.

Why Art?
• When we began the 2+ year renovation of what we called the Old Building (the North Side of the Library), we had to remove all of the pictures/art/plaques hanging in the library. For the Art mainly that was the Dodd Collection, a set of paintings and prints that was given to us in 1978. As we took it down and packed it up, we were rather appalled at the condition of the paintings….and we recognized some of the artists. So we packed it away with a resolution to clean it before it went back up……
• During this period, we received, based on a recommendation from the Art Department, a donation of Large Paintings/Drawings/Sculpture from New York artist Ross Rosenberg. We cleaned, photographed, described and rolled up the canvases thinking….we really should exhibit them some day.
• Then, the university began an “Art Funding Pool Committee” to advise the campus on acquisition and policies about the University’s Art holdings and provide funds to acquire art.
• Our first project, for the University Art Committee, was an inventory of campus art. This was created and handled by the VSU Archives and led to a lot of research about our art. Turns out the library has by far the largest Art Collection in the University. In fact when you put the library’s and the archives’ holdings together…we have enough for a small museum….. so…..
• When the renovation was complete, the Library Art Committee formed and started a rather ambitious project, with some funding from the Art Funding Pool Committee for framing and stabilization, especially of the Rosenberg pieces. We cleaned, varnished, researched, talked to artists, arranged, wrote….It’s what we did from April through early August, 2011. We worked with the VSU carpenters to hang the pieces securely and build the sculpture bases. We worked with Gallery Director Julie Bowland to hang and present the works to gallery specs.
• In 2010, Mr. William Mobley IV, a generous donor who, through his selections at Library of Congress had brought Odum Library almost one million dollars worth of books, passed away. His friends and family made donations to a special fund in Odum Library to honor him. The library decided to purchase a piece of art in his memory. With matching funds from the Art Funding Pool, we were able to commission Dr. Amalia Amaki to create “For the Love of Books” a piece honoring both Mr. Mobley and Odum Library. It took several months of research and negotiations with galleries to decide on artist, but we are very pleased with the piece.
• For the last collection, Jennette Kessler donated her and her husband’s East Asian Art collection, with antique weavings from many countries in East Asia, a photographic exhibit from Tibet, and Ban Chain pottery that ranges from 1000-3000 years old. It will be displayed in the Gallery in about six months. Right now we have a “teaser” up.

So… why Art? Especially in tough economic times?
• Because we could….we had generous donations of art…and lots of new wall space in the North Side.
• Because we wanted to make this a special place…where our students feel comfortable and maybe get challenged a bit.

What’s Next?

• The third floor: when the new roof is complete, we will hang works by VSU faculty and students, as well as some special collections like the medieval manuscripts, the horse carvings, and the ceramic ballerina collection.
• The Kessler Collection (see above)
• Hopefully some guest exhibits in our gallery.
• A party in October to meet some of the Artists and learn about the collections….and eat free food.

Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Deborah Davis, Chair
Odum Library Art Committee


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