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The Scarlet & Black

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On the job: Jay Shuey

Jeremy+Shuey+works+at+the+Faulconer+Gallery+guarding+the+various+works+of+art+that+cycle+through+the+exhibits.
Jeremy Shuey works at the Faulconer Gallery guarding the various works of art that cycle through the exhibits.

Jeremy Shuey, or Jay, as many Grinnellians know him, has worked at the Faulconer Gallery for two years. In that time, he has garnered the reputation of being a friendly face on campus, and someone always down for a conversation. 

As the security guard, Shuey has unparalleled insight and access to the art gallery, and the interactions that happen within. 

Interactions with the art “depend on what the topic is. You see a lot of positive interactions but if you get something kinda controversial where the people have conflicting thoughts about it sometimes you’ll get that negative reaction but it’s very rare,” said Shuey.

Shuey meets more than just students on the job. He also meets children from local daycares and elderly people from nursing homes. He says that reactions to the art vary with different demographics. 

“It all depends on what the people are into. The students here and people who are more creative interact with [the exhibits] a lot more. They look into it and see more than what a person would that’s just from the public that isn’t really artsy or don’t have that creative mindset.”

Shuey himself has a creative mindset. With a background in psychology and a deep interest in theology, he describes himself as a detail-oriented and artsy type of person. 

“I would have to say my favorite [exhibit in Faulconer] so far was probably the art-biology mix because it was very widespread and was more colorful and vivid.” 

Shuey’s love for art is combined with a military background in the Army and the Air Force. In addition, he has previous experiences as a security guard in the local hospital. Both of these made the job at the College’s art gallery a perfect fit. And Shuey says that the College as a whole was a big motivating factor behind his decision to take the job.

“Once I heard it was at Grinnell College I was definitely in. I’ve always liked Grinnell College,” he said. “I actually applied to Grinnell College a long time ago. It was just a really good fit. So far I don’t see anything negative about it at all.” 

Shuey is a single father of two with a nine-year-old and an 11-year-old at home. “I’ve raised them since they were little itty-bitty babies still in diapers and formula,” he said.

Although he represents the friendly Iowan culture to a tee, Shuey isn’t himself an Iowa native. A native of California, he experienced the same transition to the state as many first-years experience when he was a kid. 

“I was going into the seventh grade when we moved to Iowa. It was a shell-shock moving from California to Iowa,” he remembered, “We of course had some misconceptions about Iowa just like anybody would; thinking Iowa’s just all cornfields. And I was thinking ‘Oh, everybody’s going to be in bib overalls.’ It was totally not that way. Everybody is super friendly in Iowa and it’s a great place to live.” 

Shuey says that working at the College has changed how he sees Grinnell. 

“When you’re out and about and people don’t know much about the College, sometimes they have different views. But when you actually get to the college and get to talking with people and seeing what they’re all about it has definitely changed everything for me,” he said.

“I’m very happy to work here, everybody gets along well, it’s kind of like a family. They help each other out, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jeremy Shuey works at the Faulconer Gallery guarding the various works of art that cycle through the exhibits.
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