Frank Lord '89 spends his days working for a Manhattan law firm in a specialized practice group devoted exclusively to Art Law. Their work ranges from assisting clients with high-end purchases and sales to helping recover Nazi-looted art for Holocaust victims or their families. It's no coincidence that he wound up in this line of work; Lord's long-time passion for art was cultivated at Davidson and solidified during graduate school and law school.
"I was very fortunate in the art department at Davidson to have the professors I did, and obviously I learned a lot, but the things I took away, more than anything else, were cultural," said Lord. "It was about the culture of the college and the culture of what it meant to be at Davidson and how Davidson thinks about personal responsibility and the honor code. It's a subtle thing you don't really notice until you leave Davidson, and then you start to understand the real value."
Luckily for Davidson, Lord chooses to share his knowledge about, and interest in, art with the college. A member of Davidson's Art Collection Advisory Committee (ACAC), Lord was instrumental in the development of the group's policy regarding art acquisition. In true Davidson fashion, it was through family connections and a chance reunion that he became involved in this particularly way.
"A few years ago, after I hadn't had much contact with the art department, a staff member ran into my parents at a wedding and started talking about Davidson," he said. "The idea for the ACAC was just beginning, and the college was working to engage alumni with Davidson's art collection in an effort to give the collection a more prominent place on campus."
Lord is pleased to see art becoming a more embedded component of the Davidson experience-much more than it was when he was on campus as a student.
"Many people think they need special training or special knowledge to appreciate art," said Lord. "Certainly, it's true that being an art historian provides a grasp of art that is different from someone who doesn't have that background, but while I was in graduate school I was interested in pushing undergraduate students to think about art without necessarily relying on outside knowledge. Art is often seen as capital "A" art in museums and the like, which can seem out of reach and overwhelming. The truth is that it's a critical part of any liberal arts experience, for every student, and sometimes people underestimate its importance and the difference it can make in our lives."
The ACAC promotes the appreciation and study of visual art through the college's permanent collection. ACAC members are Davidson College's "eyes and ears" for opportunities of potential acquisition of art for the purposed of teaching and learning. In addition, members provide guidance to the gallery director on matters pertaining to museum policy, research, and collection advancement.