posted July 9, 2008

Judy Hillman Named Volunteer of the Year

Judy Hillman of the Hope College art faculty has been named the 2008 "Volunteer of the Year" by the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society.

The award was presented during the society's annual May meeting.

Hillman, who lives in Saugatuck, has been principal designer for the exhibitions in the society's museum since 2002 and is also head of the museum's exhibit design team.  In announcing her selection, the society noted that she spends hundreds of professional hours each year working with the curator on the exhibit concept and then with the design team on the concept's implementation.  In addition to the design of the exhibit, her subsequent involvement in hanging each show ranges from preparing construction drawings for exhibit fabricators, preparing digital files for exhibit text and image panels, helping to paint the gallery, and lighting the exhibit.

Her exhibit designs have received two first-place awards in excellence from the Michigan Museum Association.  Most recently she designed the exhibition "13 Moments in Time:  The Artist as Storyteller," which opened for the season on Sunday, May 25, and is built around a selection of seldom-seen paintings and drawings completed in Saugatuck from 1898 to 2002.

In addition to her work with the museum's exhibits, she has also served on the society's Heritage Preservation Awards committee, and is chairing the committee for 2008.

Hillman is the Howard R. and Margaret E. Sluyter Associate Professor of Art and Design at Hope, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1989.  In addition to teaching, she is responsible for the books, catalogs and promotional materials for the college's De Pree Art Center.

She regularly involves students in projects, such as preparing the book of abstracts for the annual college-wide Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance.  Students have also been involved in her exhibit design projects and interior design projects. Hope student Anna Davis, a 2007 graduate, participated last spring in the making of an exhibit on lighthouses still on displayed at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.  

For more than 10 years Hillman consulted on many downtown Holland renovation projects involving signage, color selection, exterior storefront facades, interior details and murals.  She has served as a commissioner for the historic district commissions of both Holland and Saugatuck, a board member of the Holland Area Arts Council and a trustee of the Holland Historic Trust.  She is presently involved in several residential architectural projects through her design firm, Hillman Associates.

Founded in 1992, the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Museum occupies the historic Saugatuck Pump House at 735 Park Street, along the west shore of the KalamazooRiver at Mount Baldhead Park, a short walk north from the Saugatuck Chain Ferry landing.  The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. daily from Memorial Day through August, and then on Saturdays and Sundays in September and October.