New director appointed to the Sordoni Art Gallery


The Beacon/Jesse Chalnick

Heather Sincavage is the new director of Wilkes University’s Sordoni Art Gallery. She is also an assistant professor of art.

Sarah Bedford, Editor-in-Chief

Those who spend time on the first floor of Stark Learning Center are likely to have seen a new face packing and unpacking some very large art boxes.

Heather Sincavage was appointed as the director of the Sordoni Art Gallery and assistant professor of art at Wilkes University on July 18.

The move into Wilkes has been one of excitement, according to Sincavage, who was previously a faculty member in art at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

She also ran the campus art gallery.

“After about three months their gallery director decided to retire and I asked to take on that role,” Sincavage explained of her role at the university.  “It was something I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. When I saw this was an opportunity to get involved waist-deep, I was excited about it.”

Sincavage explained that the location of the university in central Wilkes-Barre drew her to the opening, too.

“I really wanted to be able to be community-driven to do work that was something significant to (not only) the students but (also) the community at-large.”

Along with her university experience, Sincavage is also a visual artist, which she explains as “mixed media artist who uses sculpture, drawing, installation and performance kind of holistically together”.

One of her favorite creations was a performance called, “The Weight of These Decisions,” which uses art to “logically formalize things that you can’t.”

Sincavage explained that human emotions are very real to each individual but one cannot assign a value to their worth.

“I kind of play around with the idea of how real our emotional context is and how we’re always trying to negotiate that realness within our lives,” she said. “I made these sandbags out of old mattress casings and I wore them around my neck and there are seven three pound sandbags, three pounds is the weight of our brain. And so I’m always relating back to our body in a way that I’d say that some of this takes place.”

Sincavage has been able to travel around the world because of her art, including Spain, Iceland and Finland.

“I started doing residencies around the states and then had an opportunity in 2009 to live in Spain for a summer,” Sincavage said. “That was incredibly generous of this organization that brought me over and that’s really where I got the taste that I have to do more of this.”

Sincavage explained that her artistry is beneficial to the type of position she currently holds as she can appreciate the past but look to the future.

“I think it’s unique when artist are in more of a curatorial position,” she said. “Artists are always looking forward and sometimes historians are still looking back. There’s a nice balance here.

“I have a background in what’s happened historically but I’m also looking forward and I’m looking forward in a way that the exhibition space is less of a white box,” she said adding, “But really use the space in an innovative and experimental way.”

With her focus on community dialogue, Sincavage also hopes to incorporate cross-disciplines in the exhibitions she brings into the Sordoni Gallery.

“I’m trying to tap into people who thought maybe art wasn’t their thing and kind of bring them into the fold a bit,” she explained. “So I’m looking for artists whose content may spill over a bit into environmental science or biology or global relations or feminism… I really want my programming to be geared that way.”

The graduate from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and the University of Washington from where she earned her master of fine arts explained that, in the future, she hopes the gallery space will be used for more than just art but for gatherings and performances as well, but not restricted to the gallery itself.

“Art does not have to be just within those walls.”

The next Sordoni exhibition will begin Oct. 25 featuring the work of Ying Li, entitled Geographies.