A New Face In CMU Art Gallery

Denise Haskamp Gebhardt named Ashby-Hodge curator

Denise Haskamp Gebhardt and the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art at Central Methodist University may not be the proverbial match made in heaven. But if they are not, they certainly are close.

Not only are Gebhardt and the gallery a good fit, but the opportunity she inherits could scarcely be more appealing for the new Gallery curator. Gebhardt has the support of the CMU administration, a strong Ashby-Hodge executive board, and a collection of nearly 800 works in the Ashby-Hodge permanent collection.

Then there are the trump cards Gebhardt gains: enviable new gallery space in the newly-remodeled Classic Hall at CMU in Fayette, and the continuing service of outgoing curator, Dr. Joseph E. Geist, who led the effort to establish the gallery nearly 20 years ago.

"I am honored and excited by this new opportunity," Gebhardt said. "I am grateful that Dr. Geist and Tom Yancey have offered their support and guidance. It is important to continue the legacy of excellence and dedication both men established in the development and ongoing work at the Ashby-Hodge gallery. The new gallery is a beautiful space and a significant addition to CMU."

Gebhardt, a Glasgow resident and native, will assume her new position on July 1. Geist will remain active as supervisor of the Ashby-Hodge collection and to assist with the transition.

Gebhardt has long been a patron and fan of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery. She is certainly no stranger to CMU, having taught history and sociology classes there for the past 10 years. Gebhardt has taught on the main campus, off campus, and via interactive television.

As curator of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery, Gebhardt will work with Geist in preparing and organizing all gallery exhibits. She will manage the gallery budget, oversee its operations, and write and review grant proposals, journal articles, reports, and promotional materials, among other tasks.

"Denise is a great choice for curator," Geist said. "She has a great interest in art and cultural history, and especially in regards to mid-Missouri. She has been a loyal patron of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery. Denise has the desire, the enthusiasm, the energy and the knowledge that we need."

Gebhardt has a Master of Arts degree in history, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in both sociology and history, all from the University of Missouri. She worked previously at the Pierce Home in Armstrong, and at the New Start Domestic Violence Shelter in Boonville.

Gebhardt has been active in the Boonslick Historical Society, the Glasgow Historical Society and the Glasgow Museum board. She is a former docent for the Museum of Art and Archeology at the University of Missouri.

"My interest in art and museum studies was piqued while taking art history classes at MU and later while volunteering as a docent at the Museum of Art and Archaeology," she said. "The opportunity to work as curator of the Ashby-Hodge is indeed a dream job! I am proud to be part of the CMU community and pleased to expand my work experience at CMU."

Her predecessor Joe Geist along with Tom Yancey of Fayette were co-founders of the gallery in 1993, while Geist was chair of CMU's Humanities Division and professor of English and Yancey was a member of Central's music faculty.

Initially, the gallery was operated by the Humanities division. When Geist retired, the Gallery was separated from the academic administration and established as its own entity with its own executive board.

Yancey, who was appointed by Geist as the first curator in 1993, remained in that position until Geist retired from academia and took over the curatorship in 1998. Yancey then became the conservationist for the collection, and has held that position since then.

The gallery was named in honor of the late Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence D. Ashby, who gifted a significant portion of the main collection; and the late Dr. Robert Hodge and his widow Anna Mae of Kansas City, special benefactors of Central Methodist.


Originally posted June 7, 2013



Posted July 17, 2013