New Art Gallery Is Dedicated to Jo Holladay - DatelineCarolina

New USC Art Gallery Dedicated to Jo Holladay

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Jo Holladay Funchess's parents say that they have given their most cherished pieces of art to be displayed in the seventh floor gallery. Jo Holladay Funchess's parents say that they have given their most cherished pieces of art to be displayed in the seventh floor gallery.
Psychologist Ray Merck says art crosses all cultural and  language barriers. Psychologist Ray Merck says art crosses all cultural and language barriers.

By: Jasmin A. Whitney 

A new art gallery in the Byrnes Building on the USC campus is being dedicated to Jo Holladay Funchess, a USC art graduate student who committed suicide in April.

The Byrnes Building is home to the Counseling and Human Development Center at USC.

"The counseling center is a safe environment where people expose their inner life and art in the same way," says psychologist Ray Merck.

Merck says the art works by Funchess is on display in an appropriate place in the counseling center. Funchess's parents agree.

"She would appreciate having a new space for the other students," says Jane Funchess. "She was always about the students whether they're college students or high school students that she had, she would appreciate the fact that there's more space for art."

"I think the things that captured me about her story is the notion that she was so beloved by her family, by the faculty and by her fellow students," says Merck.

"Once she left the university she inspired the students that she taught as well, I think that is the biggest lost because as a teacher or person whose involved with young people your reach into their lives is limitless," says Merck. "She was extraordinarily talented and gifted in connecting with people."

Her parents say that her personality is one that they will never forget.

"Her sense of humor, her smile, she was a very happy person," says Jane.

Jo graduated from USC in 2005. The reasons for her suicide are unknown.

 

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