SRU Art Society (SRUAS) has begun fighting for a space on campus to have a student-run art gallery, which would make Slippery Rock the last of the 14 state universities to have one.
SRUAS is an organization for artists on campus that has given them the freedom of expression to develop their artistic abilities. The Society provides resources and opportunities for members to go to museums, bring in guest artists to give demonstrations and speeches, host workshops and more.
The Martha Gault Art Gallery is a gallery on campus, but it is not student-run, and it’s more dedicated to hosting outside shows and professional artists, senior art major and Vice President of SRUAS Nicolette Wakefield said.
Every spring semester, students can enter a juried exhibition, and senior art majors present their senior thesis show; these are the only opportunities students have to show their work.
“A student run gallery would provide an opportunity for not only art majors to exhibit their work, but the entire student body,” Wakefield said. “It won’t be exclusive and anyone can showcase their artistic abilities.”
According to Wakefield, many art majors want to go into museum/curatorial studies after getting an undergraduate degree, and a student-run gallery would give them the opportunity to learn how to install and de-install an exhibit, among other experiences. The only chance students have to do that now is if art students are able to secure a job position in the Martha Gault Art Gallery.
The Art Society has been fighting for their own space since Spring 2016 and have been granted $6,000 to start constructing the gallery but they’re having problems with finding a permanent space, Wakefield said. SRUAS must figure out a way to secure a space before the start of next semester, Spring 2017, before their grant money is taken away and the process must be started over again.
SRUAS has plans to use Miller Auditorium once it is renovated, and once it is set in stone, they will have their own student-run art gallery. Wakefield said there was a previous fight for the same issue over ten years ago, but the Art Society was unsuccessful in gathering the support they have garnered so far this time around.
“The Art Society makes art accessible to the students on campus that aren’t art majors,” Wakefield said. “Our club is open to all students as well as our trips; the arts are extremely important, and our club helps non-art majors continue to pursue their artistic goals.”
Wakefield said once the student-run art gallery comes full circle, there will be exhibition proposals at the beginning of each semester with suggestions being accepted from all students. There will be a range of exhibitions displayed, from solo shows to group and themed displays. Similar to the Martha Gault Art Gallery, there will be notecards for visitors to leave reactions and write what they thought of the artwork.