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Designing Woman

Olivia Pek' 15 curates SUArt Galleries Exhibit

Mar 3, 2015 | Article by: Christina Tiberio


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Olivia Pek '15

Olivia Pek ’15 may hail from Cleveland, Ohio, but her heart is in Central New York.

“I’ve achieved a sense of community here,” says Pek, who is majoring in both English and art history in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Syracuse is like my second home.”

With graduation looming in the distance, Pek is striving to make her mark on the Salt City. One way she’s doing this is through her involvement with The Syracuse University Art Galleries, where she has worked as a student assistant since her freshman year. Based in the Shaffer Art Building on Main Campus, SUArt Galleries houses the University Art Collection, which contains a rich array of fine art and ethnographic objects from all over the world, some dating back thousands of years. 

“Working at SUArt Galleries has enabled me to become familiar with and contribute actively to the inner workings of a world-class art collection,” she says, adding that the experience has complemented her art history major. “I’ve been able to fine-tune my research skills, while benefiting from the expertise and experience of my fellow staff members.”

Case in point: Pek is the curator of “Women Sculpting Women,” currently on display until March 15th in the SUArt Galleries, featuring works by female sculptors from the late-19th to mid-20th centuries. Pek admits that, while painting and drawing are in her wheelhouse, she has been grateful for the opportunity to step outside her comfort zone.  

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Pek on one of her many travels

“I have genuinely enjoyed the challenge of curating my own exhibition,” she says. “I’ve gained a new appreciation for these female artists who, in their day, faced many obstacles to achieve recognition and support.” 

Pek recently augmented her training with two major internships. One was with the curatorial department of the University’s Special Collections Research Center. The other was with the renowned Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), where she first fell in love with art as a child. That Pek recently spent two summers at CMA, assisting in a variety of exhibitions by emerging, regional, and world-renowned artists, has seemed career-defining.

Romita Ray, an associate professor of art history at Syracuse, is not surprised by Pek’s success: “Olivia is a hard-working and talented student who loves to learn and share her knowledge. Her exhibition, Women Sculpting Women is a unique undergraduate project for which she led a fantastic tour recently, for her fellow art history majors and graduate students. She will make a great addition to the art museum world.” 

It’s a matter of time before Pek will be part of that world. Whether working an entry-level job at a museum or gallery or applying to graduate school, she is surely sculpting her own future.



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Contact Information

Christina Tiberio
425-443-9594
cmtiberi@syr.edu