Let Community Voices Be Heard!

“Art is what makes us move here at Guilford. It gives a voice.” – Anonymous

“The Art Gallery should stay open because art unites people. The gallery brings students, alumni, and visitors together to enjoy the beauty of art!” – Casey, ‘14

“The art gallery in the library is an invaluable source of culture and beauty on this campus. Guilford would be worse without it!” – Kelsey, ‘14

“Sometimes it’s not enough for people to have a creative outlet – It’s important for their work to be shared and appreciated too. This is why we need our art gallery.” – Anonymous

“Without art, we take away the opportunity to explore different understandings of the world. That’s what makes Guilford great.” – Kiernan, ‘16

This past Wednesday, my fellow writers and I acquired a table in Founders and took these written statements, along with many others, from students, faculty, and staff as they passed by wondering why we had ginger snaps and apple cider. Effectively, what had originally started as a brainstorming session about how to raise awareness for Hand/Eye and gain readership became a way to get community members speaking their minds about the section of the APSA Committee’s report involving their recommendation to restructure – and maybe even one day eliminate – the art gallery.

Statements ranged from the simple, yet effective “I Like Art,” to the appreciative gallery-goer’s support (“I love visiting art museums in general and I love that I have access to such a great gallery right on campus.” – Gloria, ‘15), to the more elaborate pleas to keep the art gallery up and running just the way it is because it is “essential at a ‘Liberal Arts” school [and] is the best way to access art for non-art majors.” -Jon, ‘15. Max Carter, director of the Friends Center wrote, “The art gallery is Exhibit ‘A’ of a liberal arts education!! And it connects us outside The Guilford Bubble!”

One popular thought is that too much money is given to the athletic department while others like the art department go without, thereby generating a sore-spot with our sports teams, but even the captain of our football team showed his support in the form of a written statement as well – “The gallery contributes a lot to our library’s character.” – Faris, ‘14.

Although APSA’s report said that the Art Gallery’s “direct impact on students appears to be minimal,” our poll, which you can take here, says that 84.6% of the people that took it either visit with a class or of their own accord – the majority of which do so often. You will often find drawing classes meticulously drawing studies of the displayed works for their own growth, and classes focusing on culture will hold lectures among the artwork.

I had a great experience tabling in Founders and hearing what others had to say. What had initially seemed like a “so much potential, so little time” situation, ended up being very eye-opening. Even those who are very far removed from the art department showed their love, respect, and admiration for our gallery and art in general. This shows that the art gallery’s impact is anything but “minimal” to say the least.

Now it’s your turn – Do you agree with  APSA or us? Have your own statement in support of the Art Gallery? Leave us a comment below and keep the discussion rolling.

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We’ll be in Founders again next Wednesday, October 9th, from 11am – 1:30pm. We encourage those of you that didn’t visit us this week come and submit a statement next week. All statements will be sent to APSA.

Kathryn Shields has scheduled a meeting – Monday, October 7th – in the print studio in Hege-Cox at 2pm to discuss this issue. All those interested are encouraged to attend, even if you aren’t an art student.

If you haven’t already heard, APSA has extended their deadline – they are accepting comments from the community until Friday, October 11th. Please read the report and email your comments to apsa@guilford.edu.

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