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Hunter Museum Curator Retiring
Ellen Simak, chief curator for the Hunter Museum of American Art, is retiring after 25 years of service.
Simak joined the Hunter Museum in August of 1988. In her time at the Hunter Museum, she has helped purchase a number of significant works. The first purchase in her tenure was the George Segal sculpture, “Couple on Two Benches,” which was the inaugural acquisition from the Hunter Acquisition Endowment fund set in place by the Benwood Foundation. One of her recent purchases, a fine painting by African American artist Lois Mailou Jones, was acquired from a 2011 traveling show of the artist’s work which will finally return to the Hunter this summer at the end of the exhibit tour just as Simak is leaving.
Among the exhibits she curated, a 2008 exhibition of the work of Charles Burchfield was the culmination of her admiration for this American master’s work. Simak was an active participant in the reinterpretation of the collection in 2004 and designed the reinstallation of all the historic galleries in the museum at that time.
Simak has an M.A. in art history from the University of Delaware. She also has a B.A. in art history, journalism, and English literature from the University of Minnesota. Prior to beginning her museum career, she worked as a copy editor for the Minneapolis Tribune and an editor for Miller Publishing Company. From 1979-1982 she was the program assistant for the National Federation of State Humanities Councils, after which she returned to school to pursue a degree in art history.
Before accepting the position of curator of collections at the Hunter, she was curator of American Art at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, from December 1985 to August 1988.
“It has been my privilege to work at the Hunter Museum for almost 25 years,” Simak said. “Over those years, I have seen many changes, all for the good. But one thing that has remained a constant is the wonderful colleagues – on staff, on the board, amongst our volunteers and in the community – with whom I have shared my working life.”
Highlights of Simak’s impressive career include 33 exhibitions that she has organized since 1988 as well as a significant number of acquisitions. Additionally, Simak has published 12 catalogs and other publications, including Volume 2 of the Hunter’s catalog of the permanent collection.
“Ellen is a talented and dedicated curator and it has been an honor and a privilege to work with her,” said Hunter Museum Executive Director, Daniel Stetson. “Her efforts and achievements have made a lasting mark on the Hunter Museum and on Chattanooga. We will miss her, but wish her well on this new chapter of her life.”
Simak has also had an impact on the arts beyond the walls of the Hunter Museum by serving on a variety of community boards and committees including the Public Art Committee, the Arts and Education Council, Ballet Tennessee and a variety of other panels and commissions. She is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Association of Historians of American Art, the College Art Association, and the Southeastern Museum Conference.
“I hope through my work here that I have contributed to the vibrant Chattanooga arts community; I know I have been enriched by the experience.” Simak said.
More Business News
Last Update on August 28, 2014 17:08 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a bleak start to the year, the U.S. economy rebounded vigorously in the April-June quarter, growing at a brisk annual rate of 4.2 percent, slightly faster than first estimated.
The upward revision supported expectations that the second half of 2014 will prove far stronger than the first half.
The Commerce Department's second estimate of growth for last quarter compares with its initial estimate of 4 percent. The revision reflected stronger business investment in new equipment and structures than first thought.
The seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent annual growth rate for the gross domestic product came after the economy had shrink at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the January-March quarter, the biggest drop in activity since the depths of the Great Recession.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000, a low level that signals employers are cutting few jobs and hiring is likely to remain strong.
The Labor Department says the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 299,750. That's just 6,000 higher than four weeks ago, when the average fell to the lowest level in more than eight years.
When employers hold onto their workers, it suggests they are more confident in the economy and could step up hiring.
The applications data is the latest sign that the job market is steadily healing. Average job gains since February have been the best in eight years.
PENDING HOME SALES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in July, a sign that buying has improved as mortgage rates have slipped, the number of listings has risen and the rate of price increases has slowed.
The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.3 percent to 105.9 last month. Still, the index remains 2.1 percent below its level a year ago.
The pressures that caused home sales to stall last year have started to ease. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped to 4.1 percent, a 52-week low. Prices are no longer rising at double-digit annual rates, thereby helping to improve affordability.
Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate remains at a 52-week low this week.
Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage is 4.10 percent, the same as last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, has risen to 3.25 percent from 3.23 percent.
At its 52-week low of 4.10 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year. Rates have fallen even though the Federal Reserve has been trimming its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low. The purchases are set to end in October.
The low rates appear to have boosted U.S. home sales.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. banks' earnings rose 5.2 percent in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, as banks reduced their expenses and lending marked its fastest pace since 2007.
The data issued Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed a robust picture as the banking industry continues to recover from the financial crisis that struck six years ago. The improving economy has brought greater demand for loans and stepped-up lending.
The FDIC reported that U.S. banks earned $40.2 billion in the second quarter of this year, up from $38.2 billion in the same period in 2013.
The number of banks on the FDIC's problem list fell to 354 in the second quarter, the lowest number in more than five years and down from 411 in the January-March period.
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) -- The World Health Organization is urging airlines to lift most of their restrictions for flying to Ebola-hit nations because a predictable "air link" is needed to help deal with the crisis.
The WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations, Dr. Bruce Aylward, says "there is a super risk of the response effort being choked off" if airlines restrict flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
TEWKSBURY, Mass. (AP) -- Workers at the New England supermarket chain Market Basket are cheering the return of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (deh-MOO'-lahs), following a feud with his cousin that saw him fired.
Demoulas announced Wednesday that an agreement has been reached for him to buy majority stake in the business -- $1.5 billion the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his rival cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and his allies. The deal is expected to take several months.
There was uproar after Arthur T. Demoulas' firing weeks ago, with workers revolting and customers boycotting the business.
In a speech at company headquarters today in Massachusetts, Demoulas told workers, that he's "in awe of what you have all accomplished."
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