Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection

Mon, Jun 27 - Sun, Nov 20
All Day
Castellani Art Museum • Niagara University Campus, Niagara University 14109


American artist Dorothy Gillespie (1920-2012), was a dynamic painter, innovative sculptor, and passionate educator, known for her vibrant, colorful work. Whether two-dimensional or sculptural, her work has an instantly recognizable style all her own. Elegant yet playful, her artworks burst off the wall—literally in some cases—in a celebration of color and form.

This exhibition, organized by the Radford University Art Museum in Virginia, features twenty-one major works spanning Gillespie’s career from the 1940s through the 1990s, accompanied by her work in our own permanent collection. Presented in chronological order, it provides a visual timeline of the evolution of Gillespie’s signature style, developed in the early 1970s.

Throughout her career, Gillespie has always been at the forefront of artistic innovation and creativity. She prioritized the inclusion of women in arts education and the business of salesmanship. She has received countless awards and tributes for her efforts promoting women in the arts.

In the early 1960s, she joined the short lived NO!Art Movement, founded by artist Boris Lurie, which above all else, loathed the art-world establishment. The movement worked to demystify the business of art as was well promote equal footing and opportunity for women and minority artists. NO!Art’s subversive manifesto advanced many forward-thinking ideas, perhaps most important to Gillespie and her role as a female artist in a male-centric world; “art should be anti-chauvinistic” and “anti-world market” in art making practices.”

Beyond her work as a celebrated female artist, Dorothy Gillespie was a Professor of Art at Radford University, Virginia. She served on the Board of Art in Public Places, Broward Cultural Affairs Council, FL; and, through the Council of Independent Colleges, was a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.  During this fellowship, Gillespie made week-long visits to small private colleges throughout the United States, giving public lectures and training young artists.

Gillespie has close ties to the Castellani Art Museum. In 1990, on the occasion of the grand opening of the museum on the Niagara University campus, she received an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy (Education) from Niagara University in recognition of her “ability as an artist, professionalism, business sense…influence and experience to champion the cause of other women artists, and her realization of the artist’s important role in society and unrelenting sense of adventure have made her an important figure in the art world.”

As a fitting tribute to all she has accomplished and the lives she has touched, her support for emerging women in the arts continues. Gary Israel, President of The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, has bestowed Niagara University with the Dorothy M. Gillespie Memorial Scholarship Fund to support female students majoring in Art History with Museum Studies.

The Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection exhibition was made possible, in part, through a generous grant from the Boris Lurie Art Foundation and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Dorothy Gillespie, the artist’s retrospective catalog, published by Radford University Foundation Press, is available for purchase at the reception desk.

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Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection

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Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection



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