Hutchison Takes on the Dixon


Hutchison students helping out at the Dixon.

As many people know, COVID got in the way of many important events and activities such as dances, school, and extra curriculars. One area of school life at Hutchison that was particularly affected was councils and their functions. In this new school year, many students are using the less severe COVID restrictions to give girls the best opportunities that councils have to offer. The Hutchison Arts Council and Equity and Inclusion Council came together to plan the Teen Takeover at the Dixon, and Lillie Hollabaugh ‘22, talks a little about what it was and why it was important.

According to the Dixon website, the Dixon is an art gallery started by Margaret Oats Dixon and Hugo Norton Dixon. It includes beautiful gardens and over 2,000 objects that consist of French and American Impressionist paintings and German and English porcelain. Eight to ten exhibitions are organized every year including the current one that Hutchison girls attended which is Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights.

The interesting inspiration of the exhibit is highlighted by the Dixon. “Throughout the twentieth century, Black artists in the United States produced powerful works of art that described and expressed the joys, anxieties, social changes, economic upheavals, global conflagrations, and aesthetic concerns of the times during which they lived.”

The Dixon describes the exhibit as “an exploration of the various ways in which African American artists responded to the political, social, and economic climates of the United States from the 1930s into the 1950s.”

“The purpose of the takeover was to not only work with the Dixon in helping host their Family Day, its purpose was also to give Hutchison girls the opportunity to learn more about art history about Black American artists and gain experience in artistic research, film production, and art curation” said Lillie Hollabaugh.

Art is known for being an essential part of history in that it can express the climate of the world in which it was created as well as the feelings of the artists. Hutchison girls were able to see these art pieces, as well as research some of them and gain a better understanding of the history behind them as Hollabaugh said.

“Everyone who participated got experience in researching and organizing information about famous historical artists and their work. Additionally, several girls were able to step in front of a film camera for the first time to share what they had learned,” said Hollabaugh. The teen takeover was an opportunity to delve into these art pieces, the stories they told, and why they are important to black history in America. The history behind the pieces was not all that was researched, but the artistic aspect as well. Girls had to find one unique visual element in their piece, which could be a little harder to find. It forced students to get a little creative in what seemed like simply a research project. Interestingly this isn’t the first time Hutchison girls have participated in a takeover of this nature.

“We did a similar Teen Takeover at the Brooks museum for their Native Voices exhibit in my sophomore year, and since we weren’t able to do much with Arts Council last year because of COVID, Ms. Ford contacted Margarita Sandino at the Dixon museum over this past summer to see what volunteer or leadership opportunities we could create for the Arts Council, and she invited us to work on the Black Voices in America exhibit,” said Hollabaugh. Now that councils are up and running again girls are starting to get opportunities that COVID has denied them.

“I think that if there is a lot of excitement from Hutchison girls about art history and partnering with local museums, then this would be an amazing project to continue,” said Hollabaugh.