The gift will enable the college to hire a curator who is focused on the field of contemporary art, making Smith one of the only college museums in the nation to have a position dedicated to contemporary work. "[Contemporary art] has become a specialized academic and curatorial field, addressing a rapidly changing, global and technologically mediated environment," said Jessica Nicoll, director and chief curator of SCMA. "The Charlotte Feng Ford '83 Curator of Contemporary Art will allow Smith to take a leading role in contemporary art by collaborating with faculty and students on exhibitions and new research and coordinating an active program of artists' visits."
Ford, who was an economics major at Smith but whose favorite class was Art 100, said she hoped the new position will make it easier for Smith students and others to "be with the art of their times." Access to contemporary art is "a way to enhance the Smith curriculum, and it's a way to help people see the world in different ways," she added. "Contemporary artists are responding to current issues, and people who see that work can't help but be shaped by it."