Robbin Zella Retires After 24 Years At Housatonic Museum of Art
Housatonic Community College scholarship created in her name.
Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) Director Robbin Zella announced that she will retire at the end of June. Ms. Zella has held the role of director of the museum, located on the Housatonic Community College (HCC) campus in Bridgeport, since 1998. A retirement luncheon was held and a scholarship to the college was created in her name.
“The Museum, its collections, and its programs will forever bear the impact of Robbin’s unwavering dedication. She has enriched the lives of our students, faculty and the greater community, and Housatonic is grateful for her stewardship all these many years,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College. “
During her tenure, over 120 exhibitions have graced the Museum’s Burt Chernow Galleries and surrounding spaces on the college campus. Exhibitions include world-renowned artists such as Ansel Adams, Sol LeWitt, Rembrandt, Chuck Close, Joe Zucker, Steve McCurry, and Jenny Holzer to name a few. Works of local artists were also regularly featured in shows, drawing from towns throughout Connecticut and into New York, as well as annual student and faculty shows.
Under Ms. Zella’s directorship, the museum’s impressive collection grew from 3,000 pieces to over 7,000 today, making the HMA home to one of the premier college art collections in the country. New additions to the collection include works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Walter Iooss, Frank A. Rinehart, Chuck Close and Sally Gall, with a special gift of over 150 Polaroids from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
Zella created designated galleries to showcase art on campus, including a newly established Elizabeth Fray Gallery that displays objects from the Arts of the Americas collection. She commissioned a mammoth new sculpture by artist Jongil Ma, and established a Student Docent Program that was celebrated as a national model at the Leadership Retreat for the Turnaround Arts initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which uses arts education to help turn around America's struggling schools.
To honor her work and the lasting impact she has made at Housatonic Community College, the Robbin A. Zella Scholarship Fund has been created. This scholarship will ensure that HCC’s bright and talented students who wish to pursue careers in art history or museum studies are supported. To date, over $16,000 has been raised. To learn more, or to make a donation visit housatonic.edu/donations.
“Robbin’s talent, devotion for the care of the collection and perhaps most importantly, her
passion for bringing art into the lives of our students and greater community, will be greatly missed. We are pleased to pay tribute to Robbin’s legacy through this new scholarship,” said Kristy Jelenik, Director of the Housatonic Community College Foundation.
About the Housatonic Community College Foundation
Founded in 1990 by a team of business and arts leaders from the greater Bridgeport community, the Housatonic Community College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that solicits, secures and manages contributions from the private sector through individuals, corporations and foundations for the benefit of HCC. The HCC Foundation distributes resources in the form of full and partial scholarships to students with proven academic performance and demonstrated financial need.
About Housatonic Community College Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 75 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local business and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among the nation’s top 150 community colleges.
About Housatonic Museum of Art
The Housatonic Museum of Art is located on the Housatonic Community College campus, 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport. It is home to one of the premier college art collections in the United States. The museum’s collection offers the opportunity to view works that span the history of art from the ancient to the contemporary, and is on continuous display throughout the 300,000 square foot facility. Visit www.HousatonicMuseum.org to learn more.
Caption For Photo Above: Housatonic Museum of Art Director Robbin Zella will retire at the end of June after 24 years of service.
Caption For Photo Right: A retirement luncheon was held and a scholarship to the college was created in Zella’s name.
Caption For Photo Right: Kristy Jelenik, HMA supporters Deborah Bachard and Peter Werth, Dr. Dwayne Smith, and Robbin Zella.