Wake Forest students make NYC trip to buy art for campus

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Wake Forest students Emma Hunsinger (left) and Kelsey Zalimeni talk about a Keith Haring piece that was purchased on a previous art-buying trip for the University. (Lauren Carroll/The Winston-Salem Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — When Katie Winokur first came to Wake Forest University, she was struck by what she passed as she walked through the buildings on campus.

On one wall hung Pablo Picasso’s “L’Ecuyere.” On another hung a work by Keith Haring. Then there was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Hopeless,” Howard Finster’s “Heaven is Worth It All,” Jasper Johns’ “Flags” — along with dozens of other works by major artists.

It seemed that her university was doubling as an art museum.

“I remember seeing all these amazing works and wondering where they came from,” said Winokur, who is now a junior majoring in art history.

She went online and learned that the art was part of the Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art. Every four years or so since 1963, students have gone to New York City to buy works for the collection. University officials believe that it’s the only university art collection in the country to have been developed by students.

“I wanted to go on this trip,” Winokur said. “I kind of made it my Wake Forest goal.”

She’s getting her wish. Winokur is one of seven students who will fly to New York on Wednesday to tour galleries, study their offerings and eventually select works for the university’s collection. They’ll return on March 17.

The students will be accompanied some faculty and staff members, including Jay Curley and Joel Tauber, both assistant professors of art. But Tauber stressed that it’s the students who will be making the choices.

“We’re there to answer questions and offer feedback, but it’s their decision,” he said. “All of it. We’re trying to teach them to fish as opposed to giving them the fish.”

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal.

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