Susan Nomberg McCollough Fine Arts Initiative Biennial

(Tuscaloosa, AL)—The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History is proud to present the inaugural exhibition of The Susan Nomberg McCollough Fine Arts Initiative – A University of Alabama Biennial Event, October 6 through December 1, 2023, at The University of Alabama Gallery in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in Tuscaloosa. This brand-new juried exhibition features the artwork of current UA studio art majors alongside the work of UA art alumni. There will be a reception for the artists on Friday, October 6, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., with a presentation at 5:30 p.m. and juried prizes awarded immediately following.

See all the works included in the exhibition
Read the keynote address by alumnus James Emmette Neel

For this year’s event, exhibition curator and gallery director Daniel White invited alumni exhibitors and juried in applicants from current majors in studio art. Alumni artists active in the field now who earned art degrees from the 1950s to recent years will display their work alongside these current undergraduate and graduate studio majors. In addition, a work by renowned artist William Christenberry (1936-2016) who earned his master’s degree in painting at UA in 1959, will be featured in the exhibition, a gift from donors Maggie and Will Brooke.

John Fields, the Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol Endowed Director and Chief Curator for the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, who serves as the exhibition’s judge, will select works from among the current students for the Best in Show award, an Award of Distinction, and an Award of Merit. The awards will be announced during the reception on October 6.

Daniel White, said, “The alumni and current studio art students have responded with enthusiastic support for the SNMc Fine Arts Initiative. This new programming series brings attention and exposure to our studio art majors, past and present, highlighting their achievements and potential in exciting new ways. All of our studio art alumni are working professionals in their chosen areas, and for the students, it gives them the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with those who came before them, whether through art or conversation.”

Susan Nomberg McCollough, the benefactor, discussed her reasons for establishing the McCollough Initiative and her hopes for the future: “A common challenge for new artists is finding a venue in which to exhibit. Oftentimes, it takes years to do so and some financial investment. We want to create a way to streamline that process and enable them to show in a respected venue. We also want to provide current and past UA art students the opportunity to interact and learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences. In subsequent years, the biennial McCollough Initiative plans to include academic lectures and workshops conducted by UA faculty as well as internationally known art experts and instructors. Works will be exhibited both within galleries located on the University’s extended campus, as well as in other closely aligned venues, with prizes awarded for most outstanding works.”

McCollough has a deep history with the University; it is where her journey in the art world began. She studied with the late UA art professors Alvin Sella and Frank Engel and received her bachelor’s degree in theatre and art in 1966. In addition, while a student, she was elected Miss University of Alabama. McCollough went on to study with Max Hellman at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Gary Sussman at the Art Students League of New York, and Sonia De Franceschi of the Accademia D’Arte in Florence, Italy. In 2017, McCollough was named Artist of the Year by the award-winning art magazine, ArtTour International.  She recently completed a master workshop under Michael Mentler and his Society of Figurative Arts.

The University of Alabama Gallery is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. Admission to the gallery is free. The gallery is in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center at 620 Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa. It is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and First Fridays 12 noon-7 p.m. Have questions or need assistance? Call (205) 345-3038. 

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.