DeLong Gallery fosters diversity through exhibits, as a teaching tool

Black and White photo of birds on power lines

"Wires" 2016

Credit: Peter Schrager

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The latest exhibit in the Ronald K. DeLong Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) features the work of nine photographers — members of a group called The Monalog Collective. Each artist is dedicated to utilizing time-honored techniques to create unique analog photographs. Rather than rely on digital production, the photographers spend hours mixing chemicals in dark rooms, seeking out the perfect image.

The photographs in the exhibit at PSU-LV are all original and handmade by the artist. They include modern and historic applications of traditional emulsion-based processes.

Ann Lalik, arts coordinator and gallery director at PSU-LV, said, “There has been interest among our students in analog music and photography. I’m hoping there will be interest in this exhibit in an intergenerational way. The young people will find it interesting because it’s a past generation. And our continuing education students will find it interesting because it’s nostalgic in a way. I’m hoping we can bridge generation gaps.”

Lalik said the diverse techniques used by the photographers to produce each image speak to the culture of inclusion fostered throughout the PSU-LV campus.

“We try to create an atmosphere of diversity. In this case, it’s not who the artists are, but what they do,” she said. Over the years, classes have visited the DeLong Gallery to check out the exhibits and gain different perspectives on a diverse range of subjects. The works on display have frequently been used as teaching tools in various ways.

Lalik welcomes partnering with faculty in different disciplines to discuss how art can enhance nearly any subject.

“When I first came to Penn State Lehigh Valley in 2010 and we opened the Art Gallery, I felt like there was a bit of a disconnect between the academics and the arts. It was my goal to infuse the arts into as many aspects of the campus as possible,” she said.

Lalik has found unique ways to integrate the arts into different majors and projects. In 2013, the city of Allentown marked the 100th anniversary of its iconic Eighth Street Bridge. As a tribute, Lalik invited 12-15 artists to contribute artwork from various disciplines for an exhibit honoring the occasion. Taking it a step further, some of the PSU-LV engineering faculty created assignments for students related to the bridge and the exhibit. Lalik said English faculty regularly assign projects connecting the gallery’s art to a literary work.

Sociology and philosophy professors have also used art and artwork to inspire classroom discussions and lectures. In a more recent example, one of the supply chain and project management instructors contacted Lalik to arrange a presentation for his students discussing the logistics of preparing an art exhibit.

“Art can intersect with other disciplines on so many levels,” Lalik said. “I’m happy to be challenged by art and non-art faculty who request a presentation or project for their students. We’ve had some really amazing experiences.”

The Monalog Collective exhibit runs from Jan. 30 to April 29, 2023. For more information on the DeLong Gallery, contact Lalik at 610-285-5261 or [email protected], or visit the gallery page.