Lass Gallery in Skillman Library
Photo by Christina Shaman ‘16
A guide to Lafayette’s art galleries
By Anastasia Gayol Cintron ‘17 and Jess Lewy ‘17
When we think about fine art galleries, our minds immediately go to Chelsea in New York City and the Arts District in Philadelphia, but finding time in our schoolwork-run lives to venture to these meccas of the arts is virtually impossible. So, we get complacent in our daily routines, hesitant in discovering the art galleries found at Lafayette.
There are six in total that can be found on campus, four on the hill, Williams Center Gallery, EPI/Riley Temple Gallery, and Lass and Simon Room — and two at the Visual Arts Center, Grossman Gallery and Art on Third Street. This week’s guide will focus on the Williams Center Gallery, EPI/Riley Temple Gallery, and Lass and Simon Room.
The Williams Center Gallery is located on the first floor of the Williams Center of the Arts. This gallery caters to a wide audience across all majors.
“[This gallery] has a very broad mission in terms of what exhibitions we do; different medias, time periods, installations, historic shows,” Director of Galleries Michiko Okaya said. The gallery is easy to navigate, so the anxiety about entering a new space is eased. There is someone at the front desk ready to direct patrons to a write-up about the exhibit making it accessible to those without any background in art or the exhibit’s subject matter. “Everyone is invited to come,” Okaya said. “No one should feel afraid to come inside.”
Previous exhibits have been directed at an interdisciplinary audience, such as last year’s Crease, Fold, and Bend, an exhibition that featured extreme origami. It was geared to both engineers and studio artists. Currently, an exhibit, Prints of Darkness, seeks to explore the realm of architecture through the use of cut outs and shadows. It runs from January 26 to February 22.
Moving further up the hill, Skillman Library houses two galleries that display high profile works of world renowned artists. The Lass Gallery consumes the first floor of the library with displays along the stairwell, and on the wall next to the information desk, as well as the wall parallel to it.
Currently showcased are the energetic and invigorating photographs of accomplished dance photographer, Lois Greenfield, in a series labeled Imagined Moments, with images of choreography transcend realism. On the opposing wall is Liza Roos Prior Lucy’s ‘74 glorious exhibit Quilts in Glorious Colors. Further into the depths of the library, is the Simon Room. Generally used as a regular study room, students tend to overlook exhibits featured in the glass wall case inside. Though these magical works of art seem to be in plain view, students often are hesitant to inquire about their contents.
Director of Special Collections and College Archivist Diane Shaw, said that she is “at any time available for questions… and we would be thrilled [to answer them].”
Her openness and enthusiasm only ease a student’s adventure into what may be the unknown.
Located at 101 McCartney St., Portlock Black Cultural Center’s Riley Temple Art Gallery is a multicultural facility that exhibits unique, notable pieces of art.
Professor of Art and Director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute Curlee Raven Holton has a permanent display on the second floor of the building. Exhibits tend to revolve around special times of the year, including Black Heritage, Latino Heritage and Women’s History months. The galleries are opened on the first Friday of each heritage month. Currently A Selection of Works by Famous African-American Artists from the EPI Collection is on display and will be running from January 30 to February 20.
These galleries and their respective exhibits are really there for students to explore. It could be nerve-racking, however, to enter a new space being unfamiliar with its contents and even invoke a self-conscious feeling in exploration.
“One of the hopes is that there will be a direct experience for a student that will really just grab them and change their whole outlook and their whole appreciation for what’s out there,” Okaya said.