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Friday, April 03

Brookdale Newsroom

Brookdale Professor “Focuses” on Her Art

An accomplished artist and photography professor with over 25 years of teaching, Geanna Merola has found not only her calling as an artist but has fulfilled a dream that takes so much focus and time to achieve.

Merola began her journey here at Brookdale in 1989 as an adjunct and within just one year had become a full-time faculty member. Teaching the art of photography, Merola eventually became chair of the photography department and served as chair of the college’s diversity committee in past years.

Art professor Geanna Merola's work is now on display in the Center for the Visual Arts gallery.

Art professor Geanna Merola’s work is now on display in the Center for the Visual Arts gallery.

As a talented artist that students have come to respect and admire, she has also co-advised the “Collage,” a book with student artwork ranging from images and other visual art to poetry and short stories. During that time the “Collage” had been cited several awards and one being the Gold Star Award by Columbia Scholastics.

Merola’s students, colleagues and fellow artists, however, also recognize her wide range of achievements outside of the classroom. She is currently earning recognition for her beautiful and mysterious photography series called “Windows Works.”

In this series, Merola’s images create a poetic blend of multiple subjects on a shared plane. She takes photos of storefronts and other reflective surfaces, linking what’s inside to the outside.

With a long and successful career ahead, Merola has been selected to be one of nine New Jersey artists commissioned to photograph 18 individuals honored as “New Jersey Heroes,” by a nonprofit organization of the same name. The black-and-white photographs not only recognize the contributions of the honorees, but inspire New Jersey residents to give back in the community.

Merola’s work can also be found on the covers on many books, including recent publications by poet Christopher Buckley, which are now on display in the CVA gallery.

Other examples of her work can be found on album covers for Steve Reich’s “Drumming” and Siegfried Palm’s “Intercomunicazione”.

Fittingly, however, the long-tenured professor says the highlight of her career is not a personal or professional achievement but a year she spent continuing her education, and growing as a teacher.

“The highlight of my academic career was being awarded the Mid-Career Fellowship at Princeton University,” Merola said. “That was a year I will never forget.”

Article and photos by Mark DeYoung, college relations intern.