I remember passing by the art gallery on my alma mater’s campus everyday on my way to undergraduate psychology classes. The gallery changed exhibits every so often, but it always intrigued and invited the wayward student and serious artist for a visit. This particular gallery was a single large room but was often filled with color, lines, artifacts and other mediums. In addition to being a great public relations story, the gallery oftentimes made the visitor a literal piece of the work.
Art galleries on college campuses are a win-win-win for the artist, college, and the community. These galleries are often free and open to the public and are a great venue for gatherings, dates, and afternoon strolls. Featured artists often get increased exposure due to their participation in gallery showings. College campuses benefit from drawing different populations of individuals to the campus. Students on these campuses benefit from the connection to the arts community and from having a campus location as an aesthetic lounge between classes. Communities benefit from the presence of a cultural hot spot and gathering place for like-minded individuals. With rotating exhibits, gallery shows, and other fun, free events, these campus housed art museums are great resources for all involved.
To support initiatives and links to arts education, art galleries housed at institutions of higher education are largely a natural relationship between the arts community and universities. Sometimes, new exhibits or works housed on a campus stir the proverbial pot as they instigate controversy. These works sometimes spark disagreement thus engaging students, the community, and faculty members to converse about the meaning of the art. This sort of exchange is at the heart of cultural community and learning.
Art galleries on campuses and as parts of public, community gathering spots are wonderful ways to engage citizens and increase cultural awareness and are rare win-win-win opportunities.