Campus art galleries create connections

Jonathan Tan/WSN

The NYU art community has been working to create a network that will allow students easier connection to information about the many art galleries on campus.

The effort began in 2009 with the formation of Grey Art Gallery’s Student Friends Committee. The committee is comprised of student representatives and meets monthly to brainstorm ways to get NYU students more involved with Grey Art Gallery, such as networking with students and handing out gallery-related literature.

Last spring, Pamela Jean Tinnen, curator and exhibits coordinator at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries, teamed up with the Student Friends Committee to create the Gallery Crawl. Students, alumni and NYU curators led a group on a walking tour of six NYU galleries, including the Grey Art Gallery, the Gallatin Galleries and the Gallery Space at Wagner. Both Tinnen and Lucy Oakley, head of education and programming at the Grey Art Gallery, agreed the event was a huge success and plan to hold a second crawl event this spring.

“[There was] a real thirst for wanting to see all the different places,” Tinnen said about the tour.

Based on the success of the Gallery Crawl, Tinnen and Oakley, along with other members of the NYU art community, are working to form a university Gallery Network. The goal of the network would be to create an ongoing dialogue between the galleries and various departments and students — ultimately making information more accessible.

“[Each gallery has] their particular audience, and sometimes it can be hard to make themselves visible to other audiences,” Tinnen said. “The hardest part is getting someone in the door once.”

Tinnen and Oakley hope the new Gallery Network map they created, and the online resources they plan to launch, will help raise student awareness of gallery exhibits at NYU.

“Bringing it all together just makes it so much easier for people to see what’s going on at NYU,” Oakley said.

Other members of the arts community agree. Helen Opper, a 2011 graduate of the Graduate School of Arts and Science Museum Studies program, has observed that many NYU students do not visit the galleries enough.

“Since NYU is such a big and all-encompassing school, its various gallery constituents should work harder to collaborate with each other and publicize their hard efforts,” Opper said. “[The Gallery Network] is such a fabulous idea.”

Jessica Stambaugh, a second-year graduate student in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, is part of the Student Friends Committee and contributes artwork to the Gallatin Galleries. Stambaugh often encourages students to drop by exhibits and galleries.

“[Students] should see what has been planned already, and bring ideas for exhibitions and new ways to use the space,” Stambaugh said. “It’s never too soon to ask around about how to get involved.”

A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 10 print edition. Margaret Weinberg is a contributing editor. Email her at [email protected]

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