Second ‘Dilecta’ exhibit to open in two weeks at Chapel Arts Center



President Favazza shown with guests celebrating the opening of Dilecta part 1.

Tom Canuel, Crier Staff

On November 17, the Chapel Arts Center will open part two of Dilecta, reflections on a permanent collection. The exhibit comes as Fr. Iain MacLellen, director of the Chapel Arts Center, celebrates 25 years as director and with a new staff assisting the gallery and the curation of the year-long exhibition.

The word Dilecta comes from the Latin word for “cherished” or “delighted.” MacLellen, O.S.B., recalled how he wasn’t sure where he picked the name from, but how it most likely came from the first verse of psalm 84. He noted: “I like Latin words a lot, especially from my background in monastic life and as a cleric. I don’t choose anything randomly. It’s all from some experience of a memory I was influenced by, or in this case, a psalm or antiphon.”

MacLellen is joined by new employees to assist in curating the art exhibition this year: Br. Celestine Hettrick and Karyn Merriman. Merriman works as a new assistant to the Chapel Arts Center, assisting Fr. Iain in the acquisition of new art and in administrative tasks. Hettrick, O.S.B., works as a gallery intern, learning about how the gallery runs, how it is managed, and how it is expanded. 

Although a new staff has joined MacLellen in the new exhibition, he noted that his work has not changed much from previous years. “The exhibit has been going along as it normally does. I am really amazed at everyone’s ability to adapt to new situations and how they are so adept at putting together a new show.”

The goal of Dilecta is to show the vastness of the Saint Anselm art collection and how much it has grown over the course of 25 years. This particular exhibition is divided up into three exhibits. The first exhibit, which closed on October 21, was called ‘Abundance of Consideration.” As Br. Celestine noted: “Our last exhibit was really meant to show off the whole breadth of the collection including the art we don’t ordinarily show off.”

This upcoming exhibit will be called Dilecta: Origins and Flourishes. MacLellen noted how he really wants to showcase the college’s origins as a Catholic and Benedictine institution, much like the goal of the exhibition as a whole. “We are really trying to show campus what we have, gain appreciation for the collection, and see the usefulness in having an art collection. Many see art as not useful or inane, but art is very useful and has a lot of meaning.”

Hettrick noted the extreme importance of the upcoming exhibit as well. “Our upcoming exhibit will really show off the power of our collection.”

There is a lot of artwork coming in this exhibit that the staff see as their favorite pieces. Hettrick spoke about his love for the Madonna and child statue being exhibited by Silvia Nicholas. Nicholas is a known artist around the college, creating the statues of St. Anselm, St. Benedict, and Mary in the grotto, crafting the stained glass windows in the refectory of the monastery, and assisting in the creation of the stained glass windows in the monastery. MacLellen’s favorite piece is a drawing of Christ and the doctors in the Temple by Palma Giovane, also known as Jacopo Negretti. Giovane is known as a major figure in Renaissance art. MacLellen reflected on how he acquired the painting. “I went on a trip to New York and didn’t know what we could acquire. The painting at the time was affordable, and is still here. I love drawings, and it is quite a marvelous drawing.”

The second part of the exhibition will open to the public on November 17 with a reception in the evening. Students are encouraged to come by and see the artwork.

MacLellen said, “Students should stop by to be aesthetically informed and educated. Beauty speaks to everything in your life, and without it, life is too dim.”