Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center celebrates the 20th anniversary of its dedication of the Curfman Gallery with a new exhibition and series of public events beginning Jan. 21.
Opened in 1968 as the Student Center Gallery, the university’s premier exhibition space was renamed the Curfman Gallery in 1985 to honor Jack Curfman, a legendary exhibition designer and Colorado State professor emeritus responsible for the design of every exhibit shown in the gallery since its opening.
The celebration begins at 1 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Lory Student Center Theater with a rededication of the gallery. The event will include a video with highlights of Curfman’s past two decades and a tribute to the man behind the signature look of the exhibitions. Patrons will then be invited to a special preview of the exhibit, "Gifts of My Past: The Eclectic Collection of Jack Curfman."
The exhibit officially opens with a reception from 4-6 p.m. on Jan. 23. The one-of-a-kind exhibition, which has been hand-selected by Curfman, is intended as a public thank you to all those who have contributed to his collection over the years. The event also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Lory Student Center’s dedication of its gallery space in his honor. The exhibit will run through March 10.
Designing exhibitions around the works of many artists, Curfman has had a long and distinguished career which includes a series of firsts.
– First gallery space on the Colorado State campus in a room in the Industrial Arts Building. He literally made a gallery out of nothing, a feat he repeated time after time.
– First exhibition in 1962, a collection of posters by Saul Bass. (In September 1985, Curfman designed an installation of Bass posters in the Fort Collins Lincoln Center as part of the 4th Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition.)
– Design of the first exhibition in the Lory Student Center Gallery and every one since.
– Design of the first exhibition in the Clara Hatton Gallery and many since.
– Design of the first exhibition in the Fort Collins Lincoln Center Intimate Gallery and all exhibits since.
– Design of the space for the first Denver Art Museum annual Valentine’s Day auction.
– Design of the first exhibition in the Arvada Center for the Arts.
– Design of interior space of the Fort Collins Museum (originally the Fort Collins Library).
– Design of gallery spaces for Central Bank and Trust of Denver and United Bank of Denver.
– Design of the interior of the Old Navarre Hotel in Denver, which became the Museum of Western Art.
– Founding member of the City of Fort Collins Cultural Resources Board.
Since that first exhibition in 1962, Curfman’s designs have included Renoir, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Moran, Peter Hurd, Art of New Guinea, Colorado State’s annual Undergraduate Visual Arts Exhibition, Colonial Arts of New Mexico, Harmsen’s Americana – blankets, baskets and paintings, Andy Warhol, Sam Francis, Maria Pottery, Traditional and Contemporary Arts of Kenya, Japanese Scrolls of Kimiko and John Powers, Wayne Thiebaud, Smithsonian Toys, Art of Upper Volta, Ernest Trova, Jasper Johns, Charlie Eagle Plume, Pre-Columbian Art, Contemporary Crafts of the Americas, Japanese Kimonos and the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (a biennial event introduced in 1979 that had its 14th opening in 2005).
Curfman’s extraordinary talents in the use of space, color and light have led numerous artists to proclaim, "I’ve never really seen my work until it was installed by Jack."
urfman has designed sets for the Helen Mary Green Theatre, the CSU Opera, Madrigal Dinners, the CSU International Dinners, and Open Stage Opera.
urfman has created gallery spaces out of gymnasiums, horse arenas, basements, attics, empty stores, back yards, parks, streets, mountain meadows, hotel lobbies, ballrooms and stadiums.
In addition to gallery spaces and sets, Curfman has designed homes, gardens, playgrounds, church vestments and banners, museums, interiors, schools and his own cabin in the Colorado Mountains. He has been a consultant and designer for colleges and universities, community arts facilities, banks, corporate headquarters and secondary schools up and down the Front Range.
Curfman retired in 2001 from the Department of Design and Merchandising, where he taught interior design. His teaching career at Colorado State University spanned a remarkable 50 years. The Jack Curfman Creative and Visual Design Scholarship was set up in his name upon his retirement and is fully endowed, providing scholarships to design students at Colorado State. Since his retirement, Curfman has continued to be in demand as an exhibit designer in multiple settings.
The gallery opened following the completion of an addition to the south end of the Lory Student Center in 1968. Since that time, the gallery has played host to exhibits by artists known throughout the world and has become the premier space for exhibition of Colorado State student artwork.
"Colorado State is fortunate to have such a vibrant exhibitions program in the heart of campus life, and Jack Curfman has been the driving force behind its existence," said Matthew Helmer, director of the Lory Student Center Arts Program. "Jack is responsible for more than 30 years of unique exhibitions, and it is only fitting that the gallery bears his name. To be able to recognize his accomplishments and contributions as we celebrate 20 years as the Curfman Gallery is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved. This program we continue to build with the support of our community is the real tribute to Jack."
Free parking for the celebration and rededication on Jan. 21 is available in the parking lot west of the Morgan Library and south of the Lory Student Center. For more information about this exhibit, contact Matthew Helmer at (970) 491-6626.