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MVCC Renames Art Gallery in Honor of Influential Professors

Mohawk Valley Community College will have a naming ceremony for its art gallery at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, on the second floor of the Information Technology Building on the Utica Campus. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and retirees are invited to attend.

Formerly known as the Small Works Gallery, the space will now be called the Virginia M. and Edward Juergensen Gallery, named for two art professors who were instrumental in the college’s art programs. Both were accomplished artists, and kind and caring teachers. Edward began teaching at MVCC in the 1970s, and Virginia arrived in 1967. She formed a nationally recognized curriculum in graphic design, and her influence continues in the teaching careers of her students, who are now faculty throughout the United States.

The naming ceremony coincides with the opening of the MVCC Faculty Art Exhibition, which features the work of MVCC’s art faculty and showcases the college’s diverse art programs. The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 6. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.

Virginia had begun her career in art and graphic design in the 1950s, working as a graphic designer in the local electronics industry. By the early 1960s, she decided to continue an educational career that began in Buffalo at the Albright-Knox School. Graduating from Syracuse University in 1965, she was a pioneer – one of the first women in America to graduate with a master’s degree in design and, two years later, one of the first women in America to teach graphic design at the collegiate level. She taught at MVCC through the 1990s.

During WWII, Edward served in North Africa, the Italian campaign, and in Germany. After completing his service as an officer in the U.S. Army, he returned to Central New York and attended Syracuse University, where he honed his skills in painting and drawing. After completing his degree, Edward worked in industry and was a successful freelance cartoonist. His cartoons were published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. Later on, Edward started a local art supplies store and, by the 1970s, was teaching at the MVCC as a drawing and cartooning instructor.

Edward Juergensen passed away in 1993, and Virginia died in August 2003. The degree to which she and Edward loved MVCC was demonstrated, a final time, in Virginia’s generous bequest to MVCC, the financial portion of which funds scholarships. But there was more than a large monetary donation. The Juergensen Collection, more than 500 pieces of art created by Edward and Virginia, includes more than 200 original Edward Juergensen cartoons and Virginia’s paintings and fiber arts.

For more information about the Virginia M. and Edward Juergensen Gallery, visit www.mvcc.edu/gallery.