Exhibition designer and CSU emeritus Jack Curfman does not need photographs to remember his own legendary life. His personal collection of artwork acquired throughout the past 50 years of his career is a visual diary on its own.
"Art is the record of the history of man," Curfman said, pointing out beaded leather African belt he acquired in Kenya as he walked through his latest exhibition, which is scheduled to open Saturday. The event will be a tribute to the designer after 20 years since first opening the Jack Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center (LSC).
The exhibition entitled, "Gifts of My Past: The Eclectic Collection of Jack Curfman," is yet another first for Curfman after 50 years of successfully orchestrating gallery openings throughout Colorado, at CSU and around the globe.
For the first time, visitors to the Jack Curfman gallery in the LSC will be able to see Curfman's own personal art collection, showcasing everything from kitchen dishes that once belonged to his mother to one-of-a-kind photos and paintings given to him as gifts.
"It's a kind of history lesson," Curfman said. "A lot of it is education, but it's also just fun to come in and see all this eclectic stuff."
True to its title, the eclectic collection will feature a diverse selection of art from various cultures hand-picked for display by Curfman. The designer included an extensive display of objects, which all have a story behind them.
"I save everything," he said, adding that many of the objects are gifts from artists he worked with and opened exhibitions for.
"In my background, I never saw separation between the fine arts and the crafts," Curfman said, noting that many of his selected artifacts, such as a typewriter from his years as a CSU student, should be viewed for their design.
Some of the work Curfman has completed over the years includes set design for CSU Opera and Open Stage Opera, first exhibition design for the Lincoln Center, including all exhibitions since, numerous bank and home designs and the interior design of the Fort Collins Museum.
While all of the above have arguably been tremendous contributions to the Fort Collins and CSU communities, Matt Helmer, director of Lory Student Center Arts Programs, believes Curfman's greatest work may lie on a more personal scale.
"Perhaps the most important contributions have been those that are less visible, through his work with student staff members in the gallery and students in the classroom during the 50 years he taught at CSU, Jack has inspired and encouraged so many people," Helmer said. "Those are the contributions that, when all is said and done, probably mean the most."
For Curfman, the exhibit represents all that has had a meaning in his life and he hopes it will be just as personal to visitors as it is to him.
"For me it's just a fun exhibit. I'm eclectic in my mind," Curfman said. "I hope (visitors) will see things that will spark memories. I hope they see things apart of my life that were apart of theirs too."
A rededication of the Jack Curfman Gallery will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and the exhibit officially opens to the public on Jan. 23 with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m.