Gallery moved in struggle for space
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For many years, the Art Space gallery across from the Roberts-Dubbs Auditorium has served as a platform for students to appreciate their peers’ artwork while being able to share their own.
Beginning in September 2017, the Art Space gallery will be relocated to spaces within the Unified Arts Building. The gallery in the main building will be closed due to the need for more classrooms.
Assistant Headmaster Hal Mason said that he believes it is unfortunate but necessary to close the gallery.
“It’s one of a number of decisions that has taken place over the past few years to gain back classroom space. I think an art gallery is really important. I think it’s great to have other programs in the building but the priority is classrooms. That’s unfortunately what we have to do,” Mason said.
According to Visual Arts Department Chair Alicia Mitchell, the department regrets seeing the gallery close in the main building but considers the move to the Unified Arts Building a temporary option until a new space opens up. In the meantime, the Visual Arts department is using the large display areas in the Unified Arts Building.
“We see it as a temporary thing. We expect that when we reconfigure and figure out how to accommodate all our extra students, a new space somewhere in that building will re-emerge for an art gallery,” Mitchell said. “In the interim, we are using this building and we are re-upping the display areas and, in fact, calling the space the ‘Art Space Gallery.’”
Drawing and painting teacher Donna Sartanowicz said that one benefit to relocating the art could be to use the striking architecture of the Unified Arts Building to better display artwork.
“Last year with my AP class, we set up their final show here in the Unified Arts Building and a lot of people don’t notice that the building’s arches are quite beautiful, and the main staircase has very wide landings and some beautiful space there,” Sartanowicz said.
However, Sartanowicz said one of the concerns about moving into the Unified Arts Building is an increased disconnect from the rest of the school.
“We have even less connection to the main body of the school. We are already on the margins of the school and that was a little foothold in the main building that reminded people we’re still here, we’re over here doing stuff. And it was easier for other teachers to drop in and see the work,” Sartanowicz said.
Despite a few downsides from having the Unified Arts Building as the sole area for displaying artwork, the Visual Arts department is optimistic that their new space will work.
“We decided we would try and see with our show last year if we could really make this a gallery space, and it could be a multi-floor gallery. It worked out well. If we can get the lighting situation right, I think it will be a good space, and we are hoping to have some evening openings,” Sartanowicz said.