October 25, 2006
The guest alumna at this year’s Art Alumni Career Forum in October was Cheryl Pelavin (B.F.A. ’66). Students and faculty assembled in Tjaden Gallery heard how she came to be running Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts, a New York gallery, and Pelavin Editions, a print atelier that is attached to the gallery. They were given insight into one of the directions a successful career in art can take.
After graduating from Cornell as the first student to major in printmaking, Pelavin worked in art publishing, before becoming a successful author and illustrator of children’s books. From here she tried her hand in animation, working for the production company that made Sesame Street. After eight years in London managing print shops and exhibiting and selling her own etchings, she returned to New York. In 1981 she founded Pelavin Editions, to print the work of emerging artists. At the time projects collaborating with emerging artists were able to attract funding from major corporations. “It was a very exciting time to do what we did,” says Pelavin. The idea for a gallery was realized in 1997.
Pelavin showed slides of some of the artists whose work she exhibits. These include the work of young, mid-career, and mature artists. But she tends to bring to prominence the work of less experienced artists (many of them women) who have not been given a fair chance, or who do not know how to work with gallery owners. “They tend to gravitate to me,” Pelavin commented.
Students had an opportunity to ask Pelavin questions about her career and meet with her more informally at a reception following the presentation.