Published: 03/05/2022 10:04:36
HOLYOKE — In the Fine and Performing Arts building at Holyoke Community College, visual arts professor Alix Hegeler held court in room 317, officially known as the “graphics studio” of the establishment.
But HCC art students have long referred to room 317 of “The Batcave,” a place where Hegeler taught printmaking and painting and was an inspiration to hundreds of young artists for some 35 years. at school.
Hegeler, from Sunderland, died last October after a brief battle with cancer, according to the HCC. Now the college and some former students have teamed up to organize “The Batcave and Beyond,” an exhibition of Hegeler’s art alongside the work of more than 30 of his students.
The exhibition, at the Taber Art Gallery, features more than 80 works, including paintings, prints and collages by Hegeler. The show runs until Monday, May 9, and will conclude that day from 4-7 p.m. with a reception and celebration in honor of Hegeler.
“Alix’s passing is a profound loss for me and for the school,” said Amy Johnquest, Principal of the Taber. “He was a beautiful, fierce soul who cared deeply about his work, and especially the welfare of his students.
“The art walls she curated from her classes for the annual student art exhibits were always exceptional and meticulous,” added Johnquest. “I was lucky to have her as a friend and colleague. I miss her very much.
For “The Batcave and Beyond”, Taber Gallery accepted art submissions from former students of Hegeler that were created while they were studying with her, or that were created later but still influenced by her teaching.
Some HCC students have left messages for their teacher in the gallery’s guestbook, testifying to his influence. “I wish you could have seen how your teaching impacted the progress of all your students’ work,” read one entry.
Writing several years ago in her blog, Amherst artist Terry Rooney, founder of the Amherst Biennial exhibition, called Hegeler “one of the most modest and talented artists in the valley that I know. It doesn’t surprise me that many of his students at Holyoke Community College call him one of the best art teachers there.
During the closing reception for “The Batcave and Beyond” on May 9, a tent and refreshments will be set up in the plaza outside the gallery. Announcements will be followed by an open mic at 6 p.m. for anyone wishing to speak.
The Taber Gallery, located next to the HCC Library lobby on the second floor of the Donahue Building, is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., during regular school sessions. For more information, please contact Amy Johnquest at (413) 552-2614.
Steve Pfarrer can be contacted at [email protected]