Kim M. Reiff is associate professor of art and chair of the department of visual, performing, and media arts at Grace College. Recently, Reiff was delighted to display 15 of her personal photographic artworks at the Greek Consulate General and in the official residence of the Consul General of Greece in Chicago.
While leading a Grace College Go Encounter trip last May, Reiff photographed the Erechtheion and Caryatids from the “Porch of Maidens” on the Acropolis and in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece. Built in 421 BC, the once sacred temple accommodated a series of complex cultural beliefs and is now famous for the marble female statues that support the stone porch on its south side.
After showing ancient Greek imagery in her faculty show in January, Reiff wanted to continue using her artwork to share experiences of Greece. “I became aware that foreign embassies display artwork depicting their home countries,” Reiff explained, “so I sent an inquiry to the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C. to ask about the process.” Reiff was pleasantly surprised to receive an immediate reply with an invitation from the consulate in Chicago to display her work there.
When delivering the artwork, Reiff was invited to spend time with Consul General Polyxeni Petropoulou. Gracious with her time, Petropoulou shared her love of Greece, its culture and her career as a foreign diplomat. As an avid art collector, Petropoulou spoke about how Greece has used their art treasures to build international cross-cultural relationships. When asked how long the Consulate could display the artwork, Reiff replied that the pieces could be considered a gift. “Consul General Petropoulou, then asked me for permission to take four of the artworks to the official residence in Chicago,” Reiff said. “They will have a permanent home with the Consul General.”
An exceptional privilege and honor to Reiff, she hopes this this opportunity will open doors for her students to use art created from cross-cultural experiences to make new connections and build relationships. Already, she is encouraging students to consider embassies and consulates for their artworks inspired from their countries.
The process for the creating Reiff’s displayed artworks included digital photography and color manipulation using graphic software. Photographs were taken on site at the Acropolis and in the New Acropolis Museum, Athens, May 2015.