Methodist University Dedicates Union-Zukowski Lobby and Gallery

The bond between artist and observer was on display Wednesday night on the campus of Methodist University. So was the generosity of a couple whose legacy will ensure that such a bond endures for future generations of artists.

“Carlos would have loved to have been here,’’ Terri Union said. “Several people have asked me how I like this building. It’s so beautiful. They did a beautiful job.”

Union, a Trustee Emerita at the university and longtime community supporter, was speaking at the ribbon-cutting and dedication of the Union-Zukowski Lobby and Gallery. The space connects Huff Concert Hall to the Matthews Ministry Center. All three comprise the Reeves Fine Arts Complex, a centerpiece of the campus.

The Union-Zukowski Lobby and Gallery was made possible by a gift from Union and her late husband, Carlos Zukowski, and offers student-artists the opportunity to showcase their work. It will also serve as a venue for the university and the community for receptions, dinners, and gatherings.

“I look at this as an amazing opportunity,’’ said first-year transfer student Mary Sue Parker, who has four pieces on display on the gallery’s backlit walls. “It makes me so proud.”

Methodist University President Stan Wearden said the space is significant both for those who love to create art and for those who admire the finished work.

“Not only is this an absolutely stunning gathering and meeting place,” Wearden said, “it also is a space for our talented art students to exhibit their work for the campus and the community to see.

“The work of a visual artist begins to be fully actualized when it is seen — and when it interacts with the mind and heart of the beholder,” he said. “And what an amazing and meditative space this is for that interaction between art and observer to take place.”

The evening concluded across campus in the PA Medical Lecture Hall, with a talk by internationally recognized human rights leader Arn Chorn-Pond. A Cambodian-American refugee, Chorn-Pond spoke on the topic “Child of War, Man of Peace,” an appearance funded by the Union-Zukowski Endowment for Multicultural Understanding.

Before moving to Massachusetts to be closer to family, Union was a fixture in the Fayetteville community. One of the highlights of her time here was her appearance in the play “The Dames You Thought You Knew.” The play featured Union and four other successful local women. The women told the stories of their lives, including both their triumphs and struggles.

They became close friends during rehearsals for the show. Wednesday night, Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s founding artistic director Bo Thorp and Pat Timmons-Goodson, a retired N.C. Supreme Court Justice, were among those on hand for the Union-Zukowski dedication.

“When she moved away, it left a giant hole in our community,” Thorp said. “She and Carlos truly were movers and shakers.”