North Texas Daily

Artists lose venue during Union construction

Artists lose venue during Union construction

Artists lose venue during Union construction
October 29
09:02 2013

Obed Manuel / Contributing Writer

For the next two years, College of Visual Art and Design students will not have the opportunity to display artwork on the walls of the Union Gallery due to the renovation of the University Union.

The temporary loss of the Union Gallery will most likely affect freshmen and sophomores because other gallery spaces on campus are usually reserved for class group displays, senior-level students and graduate students, said Mark Packer, assistant director for programs and director of the Fine Arts Series.

“We have so few spaces on campus that losing this space for two years, it hurts,” Packer said.

Of the 26 upcoming exhibits at CVAD’s four on-campus galleries, 12 are senior-level exhibitions, seven are class displays and four are graduate student displays. During class displays, students are usually limited to putting only one piece on display.

Students will miss out on a real-world experience of having their work officially rated by professionals and on campus display, fibers program coordinator Amie Adelman said.

Art students and local artists would previously submit a proposal and short PowerPoint presentation to the Union Gallery Selection Committee, a group comprised of Union faculty, students and art faculty.

“In some ways it was more competitive than the other galleries because it was a juried process,” Adelman said. “It was definitely an honor to be selected from dozens of applicants.”

Adelman also said that the Union Gallery was located in a much more advantageous spot than other on-campus galleries.

Mike Flores, senior associate director of the Union, said the Union would average 14,000 to 16,000 visitors every Monday through Thursday. The south entrances on the third floor that were closest Union Gallery averaged 3,000 to 3,500 visitors on a daily basis.

“All of the main entrances, especially the third-floor entrances were typically heavy traffic lanes due to classroom schedules in the Lyceum Theater and the student services that were located between the Union and Eagle Student Services Center,” Flores said.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, the Union Gallery was in clear sight of the lobby area, where hundreds of students waited to enter the Lyceum for classes.

Adelman said that kind of exposure is the kind other galleries on campus don’t get from the general campus population.

“What more could a gallery want than for people who wouldn’t normally go there to spend some time looking around at the display?” Adelman said.

Packer said the Union Gallery will return when the Union reopens, but will be smaller than the original.

The floor plan design of the second level of the Union shows the gallery will be located at the intersection of the three main walkways of the redesigned Union.

Johnston said having her work displayed in such a notable location is an experience she will never forget and can now add the fact that her work has been juried and selected for display in her resume.

“It’s a shame that this resource is closed temporarily, but it’s not the only one that’s available,” Johnston said. “What I would say to other art students is, ‘Don’t give up.’ There is always another option available. You just have to find it.”

Painting and drawing junior Blair Johnston was one of the last students to have an exhibition displayed at the Union Gallery.

Johnston prepared 12 new ink drawings for her exhibit, which were on display from March 25 to April 3. She said she didn’t expect to have an opportunity like this as a sophomore, so she hoped everything would go well.

“I wanted to make something that would not only be interesting to art students, but also something that my UNT colleagues and art teachers would enjoy,” Johnston said.

Trey Egan and Shayne Murphy’s exhibit in the UNT Union art gallery in Oct. 2012. Feature photo courtesy of Jessica St. Ama

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