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Dali makes an appearance on campus

(EN Photo / Matt Ricci)

FGCU’s library is home to more than just computers and textbooks — nestled on the third floor in Library Archives is a space where works of art and items of historical significance come to rest.

The FGCU Library hosted a reception for “Dali Interprets” a new exhibit in the Library’s Archives and Special Collections on Thursday, Jan. 19.

“Dali Interprets” marks the first exhibit of the year featuring 12 lithographs created by renowned Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali.

On loan from The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg “Changes in Great Masterpieces” and FGCU’s own “Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dali,” serve as the exhibition’s theme, showcasing six pieces each.

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A framed sign stating that Dali lithographs are on sale hangs in the exhibit surrounded by hand-painted embellishments around the exhibit in the form of Dali inspired crowns, “frames” and ants. (EN Photo / Matt Ricci)

Head of Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives, Melissa VandeBurgt, conceived the idea to include exhibits in the library in 2012 with nothing more than a vision and an empty space.

Since its conception, anthropology collections, rare books and musical instruments have been on display providing countless opportunities for students, faculty and the public to learn and enjoy the university’s extensive collections.

In 2009, the Dali lithographs became part of the libraries permanent collection as part of a donation from the Evelyn Davis trust. According to VandeBurgt, the lithographs were in poor condition due to acid burns.

Determined to salvage the lithographs, VandeBurgt and her team sent them to get cleaned, sent them to a professional conserver and stowed them away for a few years to neutralize the acid.

Eight years later, the lithographs are unveiled for the first time exposing their original burns in efforts to educate the public on the importance of conservation.

“We could’ve chosen to frame them and make them look perfect and museum quality, and cover up the flaws, but our job here is to educate,” VandeBurgt said. “By framing them the way that they did, that shows the acid burn, that shows the way that the UV has faded them, we can educate on that.”

In addition to education, hosting exhibits allows students to access primary sources, research tools, familiarize with library resources and communicate with staff.

Dali was not the only artistic presence at the reception, as Senior Library Technical Assistant, Kaleena Rivera, added hand-painted embellishments around the exhibit in the form of Dali inspired crowns, “frames” and ants.

President Wilson G.  Bradshaw was also present at the reception.

“This is something in the university we fully support,” said Bradshaw. “You hear a lot about STEM and that’s important but the arts and the humanities are also very important in the education that we provide.”

Exhibits are open twice a year; once in the spring and again in the summer. Exhibits require a tremendous amount of planning with up to six months of research going into each exhibit.

“These exhibits give people the opportunity to walk in and get acquainted with us,” said Rivera, “I’m very excited about having more people come and talk to us and know who we are so that we can help them.”

“Dali Interprets” is open to the public through April 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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