Six members of the university and surrounding community gathered in Stamp Gallery Thursday night to tour the five art galleries on campus.
ArtWalk UMD draws attention to the different art galleries on campus, many of which are unknown to students.
Yvette Yu, a sophomore finance and information systems double major and organizer of ArtWalk UMD, said she did not know about the different galleries until she started working at Stamp Gallery.
ArtWalk UMD is the “brain child” of a former student who thought the university’s art galleries were unknown to students and the public, said sophomore studio art and animal science double major Grace DeWitt, who also works at Stamp Gallery.
Stamp Gallery currently features three exhibits from Master of Fine Arts students, two of which are from the same artist. The exhibition is called Midpoint 2015.
Once a year, grad students in the MFA program are featured in Stamp Gallery.
Dane Winkler has two pieces, one of which includes a video of Winkler receiving a tattoo. Over spring break, Winkler brought boards to the gallery and built a sort of treehouse with a ladder leading up to it.
During the exhibition’s opening, Winkler and his brother ran into the gallery, climbed up the ladder and disappeared in the treehouse. After about ten minutes of silence, a projector turned on and displayed a live video of Winkler getting a tattoo. The video now plays in the exhibit.
Alexandra Pushkar, a graduate student getting her degree in applied math, said she usually doesn’t have time to do anything other than schoolwork. She said she used to paint and figured this was the perfect way to spend her leisure time.
“It’s very interesting to see what we have here and where [it is],” Pushkar said. “I’ve also been here for two years and never had a tour of the campus, so this is serving as my tour.”
The Driskell Center, located in Cole Field House, was founded in 2001. It is named after a retired art professor who was one of the most highly regarded artists and scholars on the subject of African-American art.
Currently on display is an exhibit called Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tale of Slavery and Power.
Kara Walker is a very important and controversial artist because of the topics she covers, like violence and slavery, Dorit Yaron, the center’s deputy director, said.
Walker is also known for her conflicting portrayal of women.
“She degrades women, but she also gives them power,” Yaron said.
All sixty of the limited edition prints in the room were silhouettes: everything was black and white.
“It makes the pieces more ambiguous,” Yaron said. “It invites people to guess.”
Members of the tour took turns guessing at what different silhouettes depicted, their ideas ranging from a veiled woman to a buffalo.
The Architecture Building houses two galleries: the Kibel Gallery and the Linear Gallery.
The Kibel Gallery offers a series of shows each semester and invites the artists in to give lectures.
Graduate Assistant Ashley Grzywa, a student in the masters of architecture program, works with Associate Professor Ronit Eisenbach to decide which exhibitions to bring in each semester.
“We look at lecture series for each semester and the shows that will fit the theme,” Gryzwa said. “We have to see how they will fit together.”
The show currently on display is Hands on Urbanism: The Right to Green by Elke Krasny.
The Linear Gallery, located right around the corner, displays student work. At the moment, napkin sketches ranging from SpongeBob to the Capitol Building are organized on a wall.
The final galleries on the tour were located in the Art-Sociology Building.
In the Herman Maril Gallery, honors students display their year-long portfolios.
“For [the students], the hardest part isn’t making the art, it’s figuring out where it goes,” said Professor Justin Strom, gesturing around the room to the strategically placed artwork.
The opening for the MFA Thesis Exhibition was upstairs in The Art Gallery. About 100 attendees milled around noshing on refreshments and looking at the artwork.
Steve Williams, one of the artists on display, walks to his studio at the university from Takoma everyday and picks up things that interest him along the way. The walk is about 4.5 miles and takes Williams a little over one hour.
Williams pairs some of the items together, leaving some as individuals, and then takes close-up photographs of them, which is what he puts on display.
“[Pairing items] is an exploratory process,” Williams said. “Initially it might come from the colors, the line, the form, something that I’m attracted to. It’s following that thread that emerges out of that exploratory process.”
At the end of the tour, participants said they gained useful knowledge of the galleries and were introduced to places on campus they otherwise would not have known about.
Maya Pottiger is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.