By Emily Mathe
Cheryl Daley has spent a decade at PUC instructing fine arts classes in ceramics, sculpture, drawing, and more. However, teaching is far from her only commitment. From the start of her professional experience at PUC, Cheryl has been deeply involved with the main artistic attraction on campus (besides the walls of Fisher Hall, of course): the Rasmussen Art Gallery.
First working with Thomas Morphis and later Amy Cronk, Cheryl has updated the gallery in the heart of the campus mall and filled it with new and fascinating exhibits each year. The Gallery is both an educational space for the college and an art space for the Angwin and Napa Valley community. Cheryl keeps both of these audiences in mind when she invites artists to show on campus. “When I think of a theme for a show, I look for artists whose work would resonate with my idea and if more than one artist is involved, I look for complementary work,” Cheryl explains.
The Sebastopol resident is an active member of the arts community in Sonoma County and interacts with artists throughout the greater Bay Area. In addition to attending and participating in shows as an artist, Cheryl regularly visits galleries and museums, and even visits artists in their own studios.
Much of the time, Cheryl is in search of art that coordinates with something covered in current art classes offered at PUC. For instance, one of this year’s shows in the Rasmussen Art Gallery showcased the work of master printmaker Rik Olson. Olson’s unique display included large linocuts, which were printed by rolling over an inked linoleum plate with a steamroller, which presses the final image onto the surface of the paper below. Tom Turner’s printmaking class used a similar technique to create art using the road roller operated by Facilities Management. You can see a video of the process on the Visual Arts Department’s Facebook page.
Cheryl also looks for shows that will represent a variety of media, including painting, encaustic (hot wax) painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and more. “I like to bring work to the gallery that broadens the art knowledge and appreciation of the viewers,” she says. When artists participate in the shows they often attend the opening reception and give a short speech and answer questions, further benefitting the college and community.
While often Cheryl brings established artists to the Rasmussen Art Gallery, she also works tirelessly on three PUC shows each year: a faculty new work show, general student show, and the visual arts seniors show that concludes the year.
Although each of the gallery shows is extraordinary in its own way, one artist stands out in Cheryl’s memory. “I was especially honored to organize several shows of Vernon Nye’s work,” the PUC Class of 1963 alumna states. “He was my major professor at PUC a number of years ago and was an internationally known watercolorist.” The Rasmussen Art Gallery exhibit Nye’s work in 2007 when he turned 90, and once again this past fall when, after his death, a memorial show commemorated his legacy.
Whether the work of a freshman photography student or internationally known painter, the pieces that fill the Rasmussen Art Gallery bring an abundance of talent and beauty to campus. Thanks to Cheryl, we can all enjoy an inspiring view that is only ever a short stroll away.
While exhibits are in place, the Rasmussen Art Gallery is open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 1-5pm. The Visual Arts Majors Thesis Exhibition runs through Saturday, June 14.