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April 28, 2003

The Art of Zwart

The director of education for the Holland Historical Trust has been lured back to Calvin College, his alma mater, to become the new director of exhibitions for the school's art gallery.

Joel Zwart, who has worked for the Trust for almost three years, is a 1997 graduate of Calvin who majored in history and minored in art and French. The chance to return to Calvin to head up the Center Art Gallery was too good to pass up.

He is expected to begin his new duties May 5.

"I had a good experience when I attended Calvin in the 1990s," he says, "and became intrigued by the position (of director of exhibitions). The opportunity to take over the gallery and bring some fascinating exhibits to Calvin is exciting."

Yet Zwart admits he'll miss his work in Holland.

"I really like being able to work on a variety of projects and exhibits that have historical, social and artistic value to the Holland community," he says. "I will particularly miss what my role would have been in the development of our historic houses, temporary exhibits and future permanent galleries."

Those feelings are tempered however by the potential he sees for the gallery at Calvin.

"I'm hopeful," he says, "that the gallery can become a more visible part of both the campus community and the greater West Michigan community. Part of what I hope to see happen with the gallery at Calvin directly applies to my thoughts on the gallery's purpose within the college. As an element of the art department and the college, the gallery has a commitment to foster scholarship and understanding of art within the campus and abroad. Consequently, the gallery should be committed to the campus first, but also to the community that the campus is a part of."

Zwart is the son of post-war immigrants from the Netherlands, and he grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. After his 1997 graduation from Calvin he went on to earn a master's degree in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University (he was a Dean's list honoree at both institutions). While a Calvin student he interned with the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.

At the Holland Historical Trust his duties included providing leadership and training for docent guides, managing volunteer and intern projects, creating public programming, and conducting media interviews. While in graduate school he was a gallery assistant at the Tarble Arts Center.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)