A painting donated to Alpha Gamma Delta by the Residential Services' pilot program to give Greek houses and other residence halls artwork, taken on Friday 12, 2016. The piece was installed on Thursday and hangs in a sitting area off their kitchen. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Pilot program encourages art appreciation in campus housing


In the coming months, residence halls and Greek chapter houses will adorn their walls with artwork specifically curated for them. The initiative, led by Residential Services, is the start of a campaign aiming to encourage art appreciation on Lehigh’s campus.

During the Fall 2015 semester, Lehigh board of trustees members Karen S. Schaufeld and Anne Kline came up with the idea to start an art pilot program on campus to place art pieces in certain buildings. Ozzie Breiner, director of Residential Services, approached Chester Toye, ’17, to help guide the houses in the selection process.

Four Greek houses and one dormitory have been selected to receive $500 each for the purchase of a piece of artwork. The four pilot chapters on campus that are participating in the initiative are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Delta Theta and Delta Upsilon.

Toye served as the consultant for the art program and worked with Greek chapters on not only selecting their respective piece, as well as ordering and installing it. Greek presidents and their house managers met with him to talk about what type of art piece they would be interested in and where in the house they would like it to be

The residents of each Greek chapter are free to determine what kind of art to include in their house. The school is allowing any type of art, so long as it is appropriate and has meaning that might provoke thought and discussion.

Toye, like administrators, believes that art is not appreciated as much as it should be on campus. He thinks this is related to students’ busy schedules.

“Lehigh is also seen as primarily a business or engineering institution, so unfortunately many people don’t think art has much of a place at Lehigh,” Toye said.

Sam Presti, ’18, also think that students do not take the time to appreciate art on campus. He believes that Lehigh has beautiful and historic buildings that lack the presence of artwork inside of them.

“We have to take advantage of this opportunity to get art (for our houses) on the school’s dollar,” Presti said. “My Greek house, Delta Upsilon, has chosen to get the pieces of ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ and ‘Dogs Playing Poker’.”

The houses vote on what pieces they want, and then they contact Breiner with their selections. For $10, students can also get artwork for their own rooms.

Caroline Tkachuk, president of Alpha Gamma Delta, thinks the issue on Lehigh’s campus is more a lack of exposure to art, rather than a lack of appreciation.

“Ozzie Breiner and (Chester) Toye have both been great in explaining the meaning behind the initiative and the way to go about implementing the vision,” Tkachuk wrote in an email.

After careful consideration, Tkachuk and her house manager decided on a spot in their house for the piece of art. The goal was to find a location that can show off the art to not only the residents, but to visitors as well.

They felt that their downstairs common room was the best option because the members walk through there frequently, and therefore the artwork will have a lot of exposure to everyone in the house. Alpha Gamma Delta sisters studied the color scheme in the room to pick the best possible option. They researched local art galleries and finally chose “Convergence” by Jackson Pollock.

“This is a pilot program and could be extended to all residence halls and Greek houses if it is well received and properly funded,” Toye said.

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