This work was selected by Hester Harris (Class of 2023), who explains: “Initially, I chose this piece because I liked the pastel colors, hearts, and nature elements. I am currently studying Fisheries and Wildlife and Environmental Studies, and I decided to pursue an education mainly focusing on the environment because I love animals, and I hope to work with them one day. The toucan in the painting reflects that desire for me. I think this painting represents the intersection of my interests in animals and art. Also, with my future environmental and biology degree, I hope to be able to travel to many countries with different biodiversity, such as the toucan. The toucan is native to rainforests in South America, and it has always been a dream of mine to travel there. I believe this painting could be a message about how wildlife interacts with humans or how wildlife is often seen as a commodity. For me, it feels more relaxed and comforting. Art is subjective!”
The Vault, which also houses some of the works from our permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. Each month, one of our student gallery guides selects a piece from our collection and writes a short text explaining why they chose it and believe it should be displayed. By providing our gallery guides with an opportunity to participate in the curatorial process of selection and display, we aim to open a dialogue with the student community while simultaneously sharing with the public works from the collection that would otherwise remain in storage.