The Gund


Art-full Inquiry and Engagement

Gift to endow the academic curator position at The Gund solidifies the gallery's curricular connections and interdisciplinary learning in the museum.

Written by:
Molly Vogel

At the start of each "Introduction to Experimental Biology" section, students begin their lessons in observation not through a microscope or in a lab, but with a visit to The Gund. At the art gallery, they observe a series of lithographs by Cy Twombly (American, 1928-2011), where they tease out the role interpretation plays in both art and science.

Jodi Kovach, the Pamela and Christopher Hoehn-Saric Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Education of the Gund at Kenyon College. Such interdisciplinary study is at the heart of Jodi Kovach’s role with The Gund. Now, thanks to a gift from Gund board chair Pamela Feitler Hoehn-Saric ’80 P’10, ’14 and Christopher Hoehn-Saric P’10, ’14, as well as a recent promotion, Kovach will hold the title of Pamela and Christopher Hoehn-Saric Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Education of the Gund at Kenyon College.

The breadth of the title reflects the scope of her work.

Last semester, Kovach worked with 53 different faculty members across 26 departments and programs, allowing more than 1,100 Kenyon students to explore the Gund collection in courses from neuroscience to drama and everything in between. She also oversees the Education team of the Gund Associates program and the staff and programming for The Annex, the new satellite space of The Gund, located in downtown Mount Vernon.

“Curricular engagement at The Gund entails a unique collaborative approach. Jodi works with each faculty member to develop a tailored class session that advances learning by using the Collection or our program of rotating exhibitions that enhances the pedagogical and learning goals of the curriculum. She has brilliantly fostered innovative pedagogies to enhance the learning experience at Kenyon and keeping faculty and students engaged in mutually beneficial ways,” said Daisy Derosiers, the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation Director of the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College.

"Jodi’s work is inspiring,” Hoehn-Saric said. “Jodi has made The Gund an essential component of the Kenyon experience where students and faculty engage in interdisciplinary research, learning and open discourse around a wide array of subjects. Curricular engagements are at the core of our mission to create new ways to experience and learn from modern and contemporary art in an academic setting, inviting inquiry, connecting students, artists and lifelong learners, and inspiring collaborative action toward a brighter future."

While the Hoehn-Saric gift ensures the position will be funded in perpetuity, it is a testament to the work Kovach has done to build the program since joining the gallery in 2016. “I have such wonderful partnerships with people here. The teaching standards are higher here than just about anywhere,” she said.

Provost Jeff Bowman highlighted what a meaningful academic asset Kovach’s work with The Gund collection is. “Already, more than half of Kenyon faculty, departments and programs have discovered how enriching partnering with the Gund and Jodi can be. Thanks to Pam and Chris’s gift, we can look forward to this truly interdisciplinary approach remaining a core feature of the gallery and its engagement with students for years to come.”

“We are thrilled to support Jodi's work as a lead scholar in the field of object-driven inquiry.” Hoehn-Saric said. “She has already built a strong program that has had a meaningful impact on the Kenyon community. Daisy's visionary leadership has greatly elevated and amplified Jodi's powerful effect as an inspired teacher and community builder. Daisy and Jodi are helping put The Gund at the forefront of college art museums, and most importantly serving to deeply enrich the lives of Kenyon students and faculty."

Pamela Hoehn-Saric is also a member of the Kenyon Board of Trustees as well as chair emeritus of the Board of Governors of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. Christopher Hoehn-Saric co-founded Sterling Partners and is a managing director of the diversified investment management firm.

Kovach shared her gratitude for the gift. “Mrs. Hoehn-Saric and her family have always been such ardent supporters of art education and curricular engagement at the gallery; this generous gift affirms that we have a real impact on Kenyon students’ learning and the life of the college. I love my work, I'm proud to be a part of this place and believe in the role of our museum, The Gund, in inviting inquiry, critical thinking and connecting scholarly concepts through visual experiences.”