Art of Oakton showcased at Koehnline Museum


Eric M.

Dr. Harpaz showcasing some paintings

Eric M.

“This piece here was done in Chicago in 1938, during the great depression”

Oakton is a campus filled to the brim with a variety of different types of art. From sculptures to paintings, turning your head will more than likely place your cone of vision directly on a beautiful painting or sculpture, both inside the building and outside. 

Upon walking further down into the building leads to the Koehnline Museum, managed by Dr. Nathan Harpaz.  This particular Tuesday was also very important because it was also the opening of the Annual Art Faculty Exhibition, open to the public all November. 

Coming off last month’s online exhibition, “B@dassery: Women Creating A Just Environment and World”, a well thought out exhibit that exemplified the strength of women in the face of adversity throughout history, November’s showcase (WORD) the work of the talented art staff at Oakton. 

I had the opportunity to visit the museum a few times before the start of the pandemic during periods of time where I would wait for class, but never knew what went on behind the scenes of the museum, and with my talk with Dr. Harpaz, I got to learn so much more about this treasure on the campus.

Dr. Harpaz has been working for 20 years, and has the knowledge to prove it whilst managing two sections of the Koehnline Museum. 

First, is the permanent section of the museum which is composed primarily of donations, much like many of the sculptures that are on campus. 

Alongside the temporary exhibitions which are planned out for the year many months in advance and switched out on an almost monthly basis. The museum has something new to see and experience frequently.

The museum, much like many places, was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The art did not stop and online exhibitions were held, but this semester marks the return to In-person exhibitions, with the Faculty show. Albeit with some restrictions to keep social distancing rules in line, such as a 25 person capacity, the museum can finally be seen by students and visitors alike.

After speaking to Dr. Harpaz about his work at the museum and the current exhibition, he showed his love for art further, giving a tour of a recently opened up facility. This facility is a new art storage room for the permanent collection of the museum with a study room attached to it. 

It is important to note this room is located in a little secluded section in the recently remodeled portion of the campus. It is very interesting to think about all of the amazing and historical art that is kept in this room, that many walk by every day. 

Upon entering the Art Study Room I noticed how spacious it was and the rather large table that is used to examine the art. A key word to describe both of these rooms is efficiency. Everything is very well organized and put together to keep the artwork in as best of a condition as possible. 

Through a doorway immediately to the right we reached the actual storage area. There were large metal sliding screens that kept the painting safe lined the walls, along with a thermostat to keep the room at an optimal temperature to preserve the paintings. Among these screens are several pieces of history such as 17th century Dutch paintings to 19th century English paintings among many others. 

Hundreds of years of art are on this very campus just waiting to be seen, whether in an art history class or regular walk.

If you would like to get a closer look for yourself, be sure to check out the Koehnline Museum!