An unassuming door sits to the right of Terry Hammond’s office. She is the Founding Director and the Curator of the Guilford College Art Gallery. Her office is buried in a quiet hallway on the lowest level of the Hege Library. I learned about the room this door leads to a few weeks ago when visiting her for another story.
I asked her for suggestions about other things we might cover and she opens this door, and explains it leads to a room where all the art for the gallery that is not on display is stored. Art exploded from every corner of the room, stacked carefully, hung neatly, and inventoried meticulously. None of it was on display, yet the care each piece had been handled with was apparent even at a glimpse.
I returned last week so I could write about it here. The most prominent feature in the room is a series of vertical metal racks which span most of the length of one side. The art on them is art that should be hung and about half of the racks were purchased by Guilford College, but quickly filled. More space was needed, but the budget was not there for more racks. Creative people are often great problem solvers, and so students helped reverse-engineer the racks and built more! If you look closely at the following picture, you can notice subtle differences between the two.
A chest of drawers sits on the left containing thousands of prints serves to keep paper art safe, flat, and stored properly. Behind the metal racks are hundreds of art pieces. This is where they store the 3D pieces, and the shelves are crowded with all kinds of exciting art!
Although this room sounds like a rare glimpse into the behind the scenes operations of the Art Gallery, Terry Hammond stressed that ANY student can request to see any piece that is not on display. Her passion for what she does shines through in your conversation with her and whether she is talking about past events or future plans, there is little doubt that she is sharing art with us because it’s what she loves.
Guilford’s art gallery contains pieces from all over the world, and each requires special care. Sometimes this is instruction by the artists about which order crayon filled bullet shells are in, sometimes it is to oil a wooden artifact, or sometimes it is just maintaining the piece as a gallery would, storing it within proper temperature and humidity.
Terry Hammond is not only in charge of the gallery, but she essentially created it. Like any great artist, she created her future instead of applying for it. There was no gallery before her, or an open position to fill. She had a vision and with a lot of hard work, dedication, and some funding, the gallery was born. Go enjoy it, and find inspiration for creating YOUR future. We’d love to hear what your favorite pieces are, so let us know!