Barrett Art Gallery still without art this semester – The Tangerine


When the students returned to the Utica College campus for the fall 2020 semester, the Edith Barrett Fine Arts Gallery had been converted into offices. It remains that way at the start of the 2021 semester, leading some to wonder when it will be transformed into an art gallery again.

The college has confirmed that the gallery will not be returning this academic year and that the purchasing and accounts payable office will be vacating the gallery space in November. However, no gallery director has been hired and there are no plans to do so during this academic year.

“Outdoor exhibits, at least the first ones held in the gallery, take several months to plan,” said Dean of Arts and Science Sharon Wise. “As we do not have a gallery director at this time, and because we are limited for the foreseeable future to smaller gatherings and restricted travel and guests, we have no exhibition plans this year. “

Megan Austin, the last art gallery director, resigned in 2019 before the campus switched to online learning due to the pandemic. The college was closed for much of the spring and summer, and by the summer it was clear the following school year would not have large gatherings or outside visitors, Wise said.

“At this point, the decision has been made to wait until a gallery manager is hired until COVID-19 allows the gallery to operate normally,” Wise said.

According to Jason Denman, associate dean of the humanities and social sciences and professor of English, the department is pushing to hire someone to run the gallery and teach the visual arts.

“We were very, very close to hiring someone to do it in the spring of 2020, but the budget crisis surrounding COVID-19 destroyed that plan and cost us valuable momentum,” Denman said.

He added that the visual arts had lacked a full-time advocate for some time, as the post of gallery director remained vacant.

The gallery opened in 1980. Since then, it has been the venue for exhibitions presenting the works of various artists.

“The Barrett Art Gallery is the center for the visual arts on campus and has been a rich site for visual arts learning and immersive experiences.”


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