Connecticut College Magazine · Summer 2011


Seth Stulen '07 served as a Peace Corps volunteer after graduation and is now a regional coordinator for the organization in Panama.

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Teaching Outside the Box

Teaching Outside the Box
Maureen McCabe "Starlight" 2008

After four decades at the College, Prof. Maureen McCabe sings her swan song

by Lisa Brownell

"My teaching at the college has been like a giant collage/assemblage with multiple, changing parts — newly enrolling students, evolving curriculum, and varied lectures and activities, all of which have informed my art and life,” observes Professor Maureen McCabe, who retired this spring. “In fact, if you change the 'e' to an 'a' in college, you have collage!”

“Swan Song,” an exhibit in Cummings Arts Center this winter, featured a retrospective of McCabe's work from each of the four decades she taught at Connecticut College. Now the Joanne Toor Cummings '50 Professor Emeritus of Art, McCabe creates her works from disparate materials — including drawn images, toys, prints, coins, tokens, cards and countless found objects — that are woven into complex narratives of ancient mythology, Celtic history and popular American culture. McCabe personally selected a few of these works for this CC: Magazine feature, choosing some of her favorites from each decade.

There are other important “works” in McCabe's portfolio, however, that cannot be hung on a wall or exhibited. While creating her own art she has helped to determine the direction her students have taken, as artists and in many other fields. The tributes from her former students, and a selection of their work, formed a major component of the professor's final exhibit on campus. The shared memories from more than 40 alumni and students proved without a doubt that there will never be a “swan song” for the free-spirited McCabe or those she inspires.

Professor Maureen McCabe joined the faculty in 1971, earned her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and her M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has an extensive record of museum and gallery exhibitions in the Americas and Europe. Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York represents her work and featured her in a major 2009 exhibition and publication, “The Image in the Box: From Cornell to Contemporary.” She has received many grants and awards including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. For excellence in teaching, Connecticut College gave her the 1997-98 John S. King Faculty Teaching Award.

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