This time, for Barbara Hollander, it's personal.
Faced with an empty exhibition slot, Hollander, the site coordinator for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, thought back on her 15 years at the museum and the varied, numerous artists who had crossed her path.
"I wanted to do something to celebrate my anniversary," she said.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
SAMA-Altoona Site Coordinator Barbara Hollander (center) poses for a picture with artists Judith Counsel Vipond and Michael Strueber, both of whom are included in the new exhibit “Friends, Rogues and Colleagues: Selections from the Permanent Collection.”
"I came up with an idea of a local and regional show of people who have touched my life professionally."
The resulting showcase, "Friends, Rogues and Colleagues: Selections from the Permanent Collection," will be displayed through Jan. 4 at the museum, located at 1210 11th Ave. in downtown Altoona.
Hollander has met "many fabulous artists" during her time at the museum, many who have become her friends, triggering the exhibit's title.
If you go
What: "Friends, Rogues and Colleagues: Selections from the Permanent Collection"
When: through Jan. 4
Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, 1210 11th Ave., Altoona
Hours: The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
For more information: Call the museum at 946-4464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"And artists are a bunch of characters," Hollander laughed. "That's where 'rogues' comes in."
For the show, Hollander drew from the museum's vast collection of local and regional art, including works by Michael Strueber, John Rita, Michael Allison, Allen Capriotti, Scott Steberger, Judith Counsel Vipond and Yong Sook Kim-Lambert, among others, all from the six-county region covered by SAMA.
"A lot of these artists have donated their art [to the permanent collection], or someone has purchased it and given it to the museum," Hollander said. "Their work ends up here, in a nationally accredited museum, and their work will go on for posterity."
Strueber - who, in addition to being featured in the exhibit, also serves as the museum's director emeritus and a trustee - believes it is remarkable to have such a variety of acclaimed artwork from the region.
"The purpose of the museum has always been to create interest in American art, from the broadest sense down to the regional," Strueber said. "We've always tried to promote the art of the region, from Altoona to Johnstown to Ligonier; it's been a special part of the mission of the institution.
"We started in Loretto, and every time we opened a new facility, it was a further advancement to showcase regional art. When I moved here over 40 years ago, art was only shown in tents at the Blair County Arts Festival. Now, we have four beautiful museums to exhibit art, and we've collected a lot of regional art into that collection.
"And Barb knows that regional collection well," he added.
Strueber sees the current showcase not just as a celebration of local artists, but as a celebration of Hollander herself.
"Barbara is a living treasure," said Strueber, who first hired Hollander at SAMA. "This exhibition commemorates her 15 years. Every piece in this exhibition has significance to her, whether it's a favorite piece or a favorite artist. It was all her concept. Each of the artists represented are near and dear to her heart.
"She's done a great job curating it: good paintings, photographs, early commissioned pieces."
Hollander feels blessed to be in "a great profession."
"It makes my life good," Hollander said. "I'm in a great museum. Not many people can say that they go to their job and enjoy it every day. I'm surrounded by beauty and by masters every day."
Mirror staff writer Cory Dobrowolsky can be reached at 946-7428.