JAMES D. COLBY (MFA, State University of New York at Buffalo) currently works as a conceptual artist, curator, public scholar, and environmental activist. He also serves the St. Luke's Episcopal Church vestry and the capital campaign building committee; providing graphic design and photographic support for publications.
Colby's worldview melds traditional Episcopalian beliefs with perennial wisdom that embraces the core beliefs co-existing within Eastern and Western religions and philosophies. The ides of Alan Wilson Watts, an Episcopal priest turned teacher, author, writer, scholar, and lecturer are also embraced. Watts connected trinitarian beliefs beliefs with mysticism, Zen philosophy, modern psychology, and pragmatic living.
CURRENT COMMUNITY AND HEALING ART PROJECTS: Colby recently founded the St. Luke’s Wellness Partnership that engages new mindfulness practices supported by research and holistic practices. He co-founded the GreenUp Jamestown Coalition (GUJC) with the Reverend Luke Fodor. GUJC, was a ten week environmental lecture series that ran from 2016 to 2018. ART: The "Pillar of Light: An Earth Day Revival and Community Sculpture Project," a conceptual multi-media installation was part of an Earth Day Celebration for GreenUp. Colby’s current photography portfolio includes "EcoTopographics: Co-Creating a Personal Sustainable Vision."
GALLERY AND TEACHING POSITIONS: Colby served as Weeks Gallery Director/Curator of Exhibitions, Galleries, and Collections at Jamestown Community College (JCC) from 1997-2013. He founded the Global Collection of Photography and Museum Without Walls ArtReach programs. Before becoming director/curator, Colby served as associated professor and Centre Gallery coordinator on the JCC Olean Campus teaching photography courses and Survey of Visual Arts I and II. At the same time he curated New York State Council for the Arts funded exhibitions for the Olean Public Library. In total, he curated over 150 shows at numerous sites that featured musicians, poets, writers, and scholars from across the nation and around the world. His community focused programs were designed to integrate artists and scholars, within a range of disciplines, to connect to everyday life and to engage and welcome diverse communities.
FINAL WEEKS GALLERY EXHIBITIONS: "Andy Warhol: Acquisitions and Nexus"; Robert Hirsch's "The Sixties Cubed: Signs Symbols and Celebrities"; "Material/Ethereal Constructs: Judith Olsen Gregory and Dianne Baker"; and Barbara Proud's "First Comes Love: Radical Spirits, Civil Rights, and the Sexual Evolution." This show was designed and gifted to Proud for ongoing exhibitions.
AWARDS, FUNDING, GRANTS, AND GIFTS: The GreenUp Jamestown Visionary Excellence Award. NYSCA funding for the Pillar of Light. The State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in recognition of outstanding performance and significant contributions to the institutional quality, JCC President’s Award for Excellence, and JCC Faculty Award for Excellence. Colby collaborated with the JCC Foundation to establish the Weeks Endowment. Other significant funding included: JCC Strategic Initiative Grants, HSBC Bank, New York State COSER funding, and National Endowment for the Arts exhibition, acquisition, and ArtReach grant. The Weeks Gallery acquired artworks from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (photographs and screen prints), and Photorealist works from the Louis K. Meisel Gallery. Stan and Sarita Weeks donated cultural artifacts. Ken and Lois Strickler donated a pink "Marilyn Monroe" print that was gifted to Lois and signed "Andy Warhol love and kisses 69".
ARTISTIC GRANTS AND COLLECTIONS: Colby received numerous Chautauqua County Arts Council and New York State grants. His works are including in the Polaroid Corporation, Chase Lincoln Bank, Chautauqua Institution, and Richard Lewis collections. Jamestown Community College commissioned three mural-size photographs for their new LEED GOLD Science Center.
CONFERENCES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND SERVICES: Colby held Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Northeast Region offices, reviewed portfolios for SPE national conferences, and exhibited over 40 SPE members. Also, he served on the Visual Arts Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts; advising and recommending funding for non-profit arts organizations across the state.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ADVOCACY EXHIBITIONS: Images from "EcoTopographics: Co-Creating a Personal, Sustainable Vision" were exhibited (November-January) at the Photographic Resource Center, Boston University, as part of the Society for Photographic Education Northeast Region Conference (“Advocacy: Photography’s Role in Affecting Change”) and the parallel exhibition titled "Evidence+Advocacy." "Tainted Prospects: Photographers and the Compromised Environment," co-curated by John Pfahl and Sandra Olsen, Castellani Museum, Niagara University. One person show: “On the Grounds,” Visual Studies Workshop and Chautauqua Art Gallery.
ENVIRONMENTAL PORTFOLIOS: "Rock City Park: Documenting Gigantic Geological Formations"; "The Chadakoin River Speaks"; a documentation of a contaminated waterway that snakes through Jamestown, New York; "On the Grounds," a record of Chautauqua Institution as it evolved with renovations and condo development; and "Love Canal Project."
SOLO SHOWS: "Der Stahl Schnitt" and "Chadakoin River Speaks," Roy H. Parks School of Communications, Ithaca College; "On the Grounds," Chautauqua Art Association Gallery, Fosdick Nelson Gallery, Alfred University, and Visual Studies Workshop; "Recent Photography," Houghton College Gallery; "On the Grounds."
HIGHLIGHTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS: "Southern Tier Biennial," Center Gallery and Olean Public Library Gallery; "CEPA Members Show," "JCC Faculty Show"; "PhotoNominal," JCC Forum Gallery; "Colby, Downing, Frischkorn, and Hiester," Rockefeller Arts Center Gallery, State University of New York at Fredonia; "Chautauqua Faculty Exhibition," Chautauqua Art Gallery and State University of New York at Fredonia; "Western New York Exhibition," Albright Knox Art Gallery (four times); "American Vision," New York University’s 80 Washington Square East Galleries.