Pierson Steps into Curator Role

Pierson.jpgAfter graduating from Doane University in Nebraska, Tyler Pierson had two possible paths ahead of him. He was a double major in art and psychology and says he thought he would take the latter path, but less than four years after earning his undergraduate degree he’s firmly in the art world, joining the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art as its new curator this month.

Pierson has been working at Central Methodist University as an adjunct professor since the fall semester and will continue teaching drawing, but he has hit the ground running as the new curator and is looking forward to all the job will have in store.

“I am very excited about this curatorial job because I get to work directly with art,” he said. “And I get to work with people that love the arts. It’s essentially an excuse for me to talk about art for eight hours a day. Who could ask for anything better?”

It’s no surprise that Pierson is so passionate about his new opportunity at the Gallery, given his personal history with art. He says he began drawing when he was two years old and never stopped creating. After being encouraged to learn more about the subject and take art classes he “fell in love with it,” and that love continued through his time at Doane and led him to applying for art schools. He eventually attended the University of North Dakota, earning a master’s in fine arts and gaining experiences that would shape his passion for art even further.

Pierson found his love for teaching art at UND and worked for the school’s collections department, which ran multiple art galleries on campus. He is excited to get to bring his knowledge and experience from those opportunities to the Ashby-Hodge Gallery, where his first projects have involved redoing the inventory for the permanent collection and working on ways to bring the collection to the public in a digital form.

Aside from that work, Pierson has been enjoying spending time talking about the current show in the Gallery and learning from the co-founder and registrar, Dr. Joe Geist.

“Working with Dr. Geist has been very exciting. He’s so prolific in everything he’s done and he’s wonderful,” said Pierson. “He is incredibly knowledgeable about everything in the arts. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I’m going to continue to learn so much from him.”

The two will no doubt be working hard in the coming months on the next show, which will celebrate the Gallery’s 30th anniversary. For now, though, visitors can enjoy the Bingham Trail Exhibit and the Memorial Retrospective for Florence “Winky” Chesnutt, which runs until April 13.

As for Pierson’s life outside of his new job, he is still heavily involved in the arts, working on pieces for a show at a gallery he’s a part of in Nebraska. When he’s not focused on his own work or getting to know his new home in Columbia, he enjoys the cinema and live theater.

Pierson’s work can be found on his website, www.tylerpiersonart.com, or his Instagram page, @tylerpiersonart.

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