Five Minutes with Colby’s Jacqueline Terrassa

The director of the Colby College Museum of Art on an acquisition that speaks truth to power, her laid-back gift-giving strategy, and the fancy china she uses every day.

By Sarah Stebbins
Photos by Dave Dostie
From the Summer 2023 issue of Maine Homes by Down East

A prized possession is…

a gorgeous guipure lace skirt suit sewn by my grandmother [in my native Puerto Rico] in the 1940s. My mother passed it on to me and, surprisingly, it fit me perfectly. I wear it on special occasions, like the 2021 Colby College Museum of Art Summer Luncheon, my first as museum director.

guipure lace skirt suit
story quilt by Faith Ringgold

An artist I admire is…

Faith Ringgold, for persistently speaking truth to power with her art. In 2021, the museum acquired one of her story quilts* depicting people making their way out of slavery through the Underground Railroad. It’s also inspired by the racism she experienced after moving to suburban New Jersey.

Recently, I purchased…

plates from Georgetown Pottery. I mostly have boring white plates, and I wanted to have more fun with what I eat and serve. I love the color, the shimmery effect of the glazing, and the variation between the plates. Glazed dessert plates, $25 each.

glazed dessert plates from Georgetown Pottery
a papier-mâché vejigante carnival mask

“When my friend and I were in college [in the U.S.], we went to Ponce, Puerto Rico, and each got a papier-mâché vejigante carnival mask. It’s a reference point back to the island, and I’ve carried it with me.”

I just finished…

listening to, and reading parts of, this epic book about the life and death of [Russian revolutionary] Leon Trotsky. It’s challenging to find time to read, so I listen to audiobooks on drives or while exercising. This is an incredible human story.

El hombre que amaba a los perros by Leonardo Padura
demitasse cups

In my kitchen are…

demitasse cups my mother started giving me in high school and one I purchased in Portugal. Every morning, I make a version of cortadito [espresso and steamed milk] and use these little cups. It gives this feeling of being centered in a family tradition.

A favorite gift is…

A shawl my brother got for me in Argentina. We aren’t like, we have to get something for each other’s birthdays. We’d rather wait to find something meaningful. Although I don’t feel great about not getting him a birthday gift in February.

shawl from Argentina

*FAITH RINGGOLD, COMING TO JONES ROAD #4: UNDER A BLOOD-RED SKY, 2000. ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, FABRIC BORDERS, 78 1⁄2 X 52 1⁄2 X 1 IN. (199 X 133 X 3 CM.). COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART, MUSEUM PURCHASE THROUGH THE JERE ABBOTT ART ENDOWMENT AND JETTE ART ACQUISITION FUND, 2021.276

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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