The Trahern Gallery, Austin Peay State University’s premier art exhibition space, is often referred to as that “quiet little corner of campus.” That’s about to change, as APSU’s art department is planning on a dynamic and transformative new program of studios and exhibitions that will transform the space and hopefully the way students have come to see art on campus.
This fall the art department will launch its Living Gallery Program and transform the 2,000-square-foot gallery into a honeycomb of student studios and common exhibition and event space for the participating student artists to use.
On a quiet Wednesday morning last spring, Paul Collins, APSU assistant professor of art and gallery director, stepped into the closed-off gallery to talk about this new concept called the “Living Gallery Space.” The room smelled of fresh paint, and workers were still in the process of converting the space into 22 individual artist work studios.
“The students don’t have a space to make art here on campus,” he said. But come this fall, the newly renovated Trahern Gallery will give them a place to work, allowing them to receive feedback from art faculty passing through, collaborate with their fellow students and, what Collins is most excited about, foster a healthy competitive spirit to help push the young artists.
Students were invited to submit proposals for studio spaces this past term and 22 students were selected for next fall’s available spaces.
“They’ll be given a space to work and feedback,” Collins said. “It’ll be a living gallery, and we hope to keep the studios open during the First Thursday Art Walk.”
During the 2012-13 school year, the exhibition program will continue around campus by taking over public interior and external spaces with site specific projects and pop-up exhibitions.
With the students occupying the Trahern Gallery, the University’s exhibition program will continue around campus in surprising and novel ways. This second component of the “Living Gallery Space” program will involve bringing the activity of visiting artists out into the flow of campus. Throughout the year, temporary walls will appear in various University buildings, such as the Trahern Building and the Morgan University Center, creating what Collins calls “pop-up galleries.” These temporary galleries will exhibit pieces by noted artists such as Lee Walton and Jason Rogenes, along with APSU’s own Suta Lee and Billy Renkl.
“We’ll also have site-specific installations and visiting artists projects where notable artists will visit and create works alongside students,” Collins said. Those will include the airing of a 120-hour film in the Trahern lobby and an elaborate, a large-scale Styrofoam spaceship, complete with working lights, hanging above the pool tables in the MUC.
By having these exhibits in heavily trafficked buildings rather than in a “quiet little corner of campus,” Collins said both the artists and the students will gain a wider audience for their works.
For more information on the “Living Gallery Space” project, contact Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.