The Catholic University of America

Oct. 27, 2010

CUA’s Artistic Legacy on Display at Salve Regina


Patricia’s Malarcher’s 100 Prayer Flags is seen in the foreground. To the left and right of the door are two paintings by Georgia Mills Jessup. Through the door is a glazed stoneware pot by Alexander Giampietro.

CUA art history senior Melanie Seitz is giving a tour of the current exhibit in the Salve Regina gallery.

"This piece is called ‘100 Prayer Flags.’ The idea comes from a Buddhist tradition, whereby colored cloth panels decorated with spiritual images or words are hung together to bless one’s surroundings,” says Seitz as she motions toward the large and colorful fabric wall hanging.

“There are one hundred 10-by-10-inch squares sewn into this piece. Each square represents a prayer. You can see there are some unfinished strings left hanging. They represent the prayers flowing into the space around you,” says Seitz of the work by artist Patricia Malarcher.

Patricia Malarcher (M.F.A 1958) and her husband Willy Malarcher (M.F.A. 1958) met while young art students at CUA and married after graduating. Like many CUA art alums, both went on to become successful working artists.

Patricia Malarcher is an acclaimed writer, editor, curator and textile artist. Willy Malarcher is a prominent liturgical designer and artist. Throughout their 50-year marriage they have enjoyed exhibiting their work together. But this exhibit has special meaning.

They are two of nine distinguished artists who studied or taught at CUA and who are featured in the Department of Art’s exhibit “Crafting a Legacy: A Half Century of Art at CUA.” The exhibit opened during Homecoming and Reunions weekend in early October and runs through the end of the month.

“Catholic University has so many memories for us and it was wonderful to be back on campus for the exhibit opening-reception and to see our work displayed in Salve Regina Gallery. It was not only a special experience for us, but a very nice moment for the art department, which has such a rich legacy,” said Patricia Malarcher.


Art history senior Marguerite Roberts leads a tour of the exhibit, pointing out a punch bowl created by Georgia Mills Jessup in 1969 while she was a ceramics student at CUA studying with Alexander Giampietro. Behind her is Giampietro’s bronze bust of Jacques Maritain, the French Catholic philosopher.


“All of us who have graduated from the CUA program put a lot of value on that experience. It was an important launching pad for so many,” she added.

“There has been so much talent in our department through the years — and there still is. We are delighted to be able to share a small portion of our creative legacy through this exhibit, which we hope will be the first of many to showcase our talented alumni and their mentors,” said Nora Heimann, curator of the exhibit and associate professor and chair of the art department.

The artists featured in the exhibit (in addition to the Malarchers) are Jeff Andrews (B.A. 1971, M.F.A. 1976, instructor 1976 – present); the late Alexander Giampietro (professor 1950 – 1992, professor emeritus 1992 – 2010); Georgia Mills Jessup (M.F.A. 1969); Tom Nakashima (professor 1981 – 2002, professor emeritus 2003 – present); Thomas Rooney (B.A. 1955, M.F.A. 1958, professor 1961 – 1995); Nell Sonnemann (M.F.A 1959, professor 1959 – 1979); and John Winslow (professor 1969 – 2001, professor emeritus 2002 – present).

Seitz and two other art history seniors, Anna McWilliams and Marguerite Roberts, served as assistant curators on the exhibit. Each of the students worked closely with three of the artists to put the show together. In addition to their assistant curatorial tasks, the students are serving as tour guides for the exhibit.

“The beauty of this exhibit was that it provided such a variety of art work by an incredibly diverse group of people — all with ties to CUA,” said McWilliams. “Working so closely with these accomplished artists was rewarding on a professional and personal level. We all formed friendships that will last,” she added.

More news from CUA