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Celebrated artist Theaster Gates joins Colby College’s Lunder Institute for American Art

Theaster GatesTheaster Gates Studio

Word to high-school kids considering attending Colby College: Influential contemporary artist Theaster Gates has been named the first distinguished visiting artist and director of artist initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art.

As part of the three-year appointment, according to the school, Gates will convene artists and thinkers from around the world for on-campus retreats, provide opportunities for students and faculty to engage in his practice, and identify opportunities for additional artist residencies, projects, and exhibitions at the Lunder, which is connected to the Colby College Museum of Art.

“I said yes because I was really just excited to be in a place where things are quiet, where I could actually not be distracted by the big city,” Gates, who grew up in Chicago and has taught at the University of Chicago, said in an interview with The New York Times.

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That Colby is located in Waterville, Maine, a predominantly white town of about 16,000 people, doesn’t concern Gates, who told the Times: “One of the truths of Maine is that this area where I’m going to be is white. It doesn’t bother me because I’m not going there looking for blackness. I’m going there looking for rest.”

Gates’s times at Colby will culminate with a major exhibition at the Colby College Museum of Art that will feature pieces and projects he created during his time in Waterville.

Your move, Bates and Bowdoin.