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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

An art history class changed Atkinson Gallery intern’s future

Aasa Haleby
Art Intern, Lia DeWit, 22, works in the Atkinson Gallery on her first curated exhibit, “Chaos and Creation,” Monday, Feb. 10. “Chaos and Creation” can be viewed in the John Dunn Gourmet Dining Room.

With an accomplished smile beaming from her face, Lia DeWit stands proud as the student intern has successfully curated her first art show.

After taking just one art history class, the former psychology major set her sights on being the next Atkinson Gallery intern.

“I took Joy’s [Kunz] class and it completely changed my life,” she said.

Joy Kunz, professor of art history at City College, ignited the flame for DeWit’s passion of living life through art. Her history class, Renaissance to Modern, was the one that DeWit was most drawn to.

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The Renaissance period is DeWit’s favorite era of art.

“The iconography that is inside the art really speaks to me and their absolute fascination with the human form and really trying to exemplify that in all their art,” DeWit said.

Another inspiration of DeWit’s is derived from the vibrant, 1930’s artist Jackson Pollock—who created contemporary splatter paintings and abstract surrealism pieces.

The unique experience began when Kunz informed her students of a chance to become the new gallery intern— one program of many created by Executive Vice President of City College, Dr. Jack Friedlander.

Sarah Cunningham, Atkinson Gallery director, was in the process of interviewing possible candidates to obtain the position that DeWit was itching for. Several interviews later, DeWit was chosen.

“Her enthusiasm was really infectious,” Cunningham said. “I liked that she was already beginning to imagine ways that she could make a difference with the gallery and understanding that the gallery is an institution in itself that needs care taking, as all non-profits organizations do.”

DeWit is responsible for much of the administrative work done to help promote and maintain the gallery. By helping design E-newsletters, maintaining the database and working with different artists, a tangible hands-on approach gives DeWit the chance to have a well-rounded experience. The many facets that these student interns take part in help prepare them for the student show they are required to curate.


Chaos and Creation,” DeWits first curated show, highlights the work of 10 different student artists. From scratchboard drawings to wood block pieces, her idea of creating something beautiful within chaos was eloquently achieved.

The inspiration of this idea came from DeWit’s personal life experiences and her journey towards where she is now.

“Out of all the chaos that has happened to me in my life, I have created this new life out of all of that,” said DeWit.

Seeon Kim, a student at City College, was one of the artist’s on display. Her graphic illustration, “Born to be Wild” became the image featured on the exhibit posters.

A reception was held at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the John Dunn Dining Gourmet Room. Several students and artists of the work attended the event.

“I love the surrealism in ‘Kraken’ [a scratchboard piece done by Nicole Cohen], the detail is amazing,” said student, Tory Casey.

DeWit hopes to continue her education receiving her PhD in art history. While constantly learning more from Sarah Cunningham and her internship program for the Atkinson Gallery, DeWit becomes more immersed in art culture everyday.

“This internship is everything I would want to be doing in my future,” said DeWit.

“Chaos and Creation” will be open to the public until March 15.

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