Art matters: Trustee funds permanent exhibit on campus
Trustee Dennis Alter graciously funded a permanent new exhibit in the Student Center.
In October, the Howard Gittis Student Center officially unveiled a new collection of more than 60 pieces of art. Funded by Temple University Trustee Dennis Alter, EDU ’66, the permanent exhibit represents a diverse group of contemporary artists from around the country, including many associated with the Tyler School of Art.
The original, one-of-a-kind pieces demonstrate a variety of techniques, including spray painting, photogrammetry, mixed media and silkscreen. The colorful creations can be found on display throughout the building—in lobbies, stairways and study spaces. “The works were selected and placed by curator Rebecca O’Leary with the student experience in mind,” said Jason Levy, senior director of student center operations.
The gift was motivated by Alter’s belief in the transformative power of art. “It’s important for students to be exposed to art and given opportunities to think differently and be challenged,” he said. The trustee has long believed in the transformative power of art and two companion pieces on display in the Student Center’s food court were painted by Alter himself.
Temple President Richard M. Englert praised the extraordinary gift.
“Dennis Alter has always believed that art should exist not only in museums, but in our homes and public buildings,” said the president. “This is a transformative gift that allows our students to engage with beautiful, thought-inspiring pieces every day.”
Alter has been a major supporter of Temple, making the gift to name Alter Hall, one of the largest donations by an individual in the history of the university. When Alter Hall opened in 2009, it launched the Fox School of Business into the future. Alter’s support of Fox has additionally included the establishment of a center for financial studies and a business honors scholarship program. In 2010, he underwrote the curation and installation of approximately 200 pieces of artwork that make up the Alter Hall Art Collection.
A loyal athletic supporter, Alter has been a major contributor to Temple’s Men’s Basketball program over the years.
He is also well-known for supporting the city’s cultural institutions with significant gifts, including those made to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Abramson Cancer Center and Wissahickon Valley Watershed.
Pieces of art in the Howard Gittis Student Center as part of a permanent exhibit funded by Trustee Dennis Alter.
Dennis Alter speaks during a recent tour of the art collection he funded in the Howard Gittis Student Center.
President Richard M. Englert views art lining a hallway in the Howard Gittis Student Center.
A student sits in front of two pieces of art hanging in the Howard Gittis Student Center.