Online Campaign to Improve Student Art Gallery
Dozens of Exhibitions Every Year Need Better Lighting
Every student seeking a degree in the fine arts from the University of Mississippi Department of Art and Art History is required to exhibit their work in Meek Hall’s Gallery 130 before they graduate.
For most students, the exhibit is a joyful highlight of their college careers. However, an outdated lighting system makes the work harder than it should be – a challenge an online fundraising campaign is addressing.
Dr. Nancy Wicker, chair of art and art history, said the gallery’s lighting must be updated and upgraded in order for the gallery to remain functional.
“We need to make some changes,” Wicker said. “We updated our bulbs from halogen to LED, which helped. But there are five sections of the track lighting that are unusable. If you look at the tracks themselves, you’ll see there are clamps holding them together.”
The Art and Art History Department has partnered with a lighting contractor to replace the outdated lighting system. However, the total cost for the project exceeds the department’s budget. To make up the difference, faculty members in the department have launched an online fundraising campaign at https://ignite.olemiss.edu/art.
To thank contributors to the campaign, faculty members have prepared gifts for individuals who donate at different levels. The gifts range from stickers of student artwork for a $20 contribution up to a limited edition art print of faculty or student artwork for a gift of $1,000 or more.
Wicker said the gifts from alumni, friends and the art lovers who frequent Oxford’s galleries and museums can bring Gallery 130 into the 21st century and ensure students have a proper gallery space for years to come. The need is more than just aesthetic.
“This is not just important for students and their work,” Wicker said. “Having a functional gallery is critical to the accreditation of the entire department.”
Hunter Johnson, a Bachelor of Fine Arts alumna, said having her thesis work displayed in Gallery 130 set her on the path to becoming a professional artist.
“It was a really special experience to have that level of professionalism at such a young age, to be introduced to that,” Johnson said. “The gallery made that possible.”
By Angela Atkins