By Alyssa Seidman
The former site of the Student Art League (S.A.L.) Gallery across from Starbucks in Hillwood Commons is now the home of the new Pioneer Nation store, which sells Green and Gold merchandise similar
to what you’d find in the campus bookstore. The S.A.L., which is the gallery for student art shows and displays, was moved to the first floor of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, according to Joseph Schaefer, Chief of Administration and Student Affairs.
“The ultimate reasoning for moving the S.A.L. gallery to the library was the fact that the library has longer hours (with security), and will enable the University to keep the gallery open [longer], increasing access and visibility to student work,” said Schaefer. “In addition, the opening of the Bleecker Street Café within the library will bring increased traffic and added guests into the gallery space,” he added.
“The new space is more visible to the public. The open windows certainly help to attract more interest,” said Chrisann Ambery, a third year MFA printmaking major. “I had my opening there last Wednesday, and we had many visitors outside of the art department stop in to see what what was happening. I recieved a lot of positive feedback from these visitors.”
Ambery did suggest new improvements that should be made to the space. “The gallery, however, needs professional lighting. The current lighting situation detracts from the artwork,” she said.
Stacie Zucker, a senior Digital Art and Design major, had mixed feelings about the move. “I was disappointed at first. Myself, as well as a lot of other artists on campus, [were looking] forward to having [our] future student shows in the old gallery. It was a prime location – our work would have been able to be seen by a larger portion of the student body in Hillwood as opposed to other, ‘out of the way’ locations on campus.”
But then she had a change of heart: “I did trek to the library to check out the new gallery location. I have to say, I was pleased. The gallery is right on ground level, [and] you can’t miss it next to the new cafe. And it’s quite spacious; there’s plenty of room to hang artwork.”
Hannah Fitch, senior Arts Management major and secretary for the Art and Art History Club, felt the move did more harm than good for Post’s MFA students.
“I know a lot of artists are unhappy with the change because no one told them [about it], and they were caught off guard,” Fitch said. “In one instance, an MFA student who was supposed to exhibit in the Hillwood Gallery wasn’t notified [about the move] until two weeks before her show, which meant that the work she had completed was made distinctly for the Hillwood space.”
“She [didn’t] have enough pieces to fit in the larger space in the library, and the walls are higher, so it [didn’t] look as good. It look[ed] as if she wasn’t prepared, when in fact it was the University who didn’t tell her the space had changed,” she added.
Both Zucker and Fitch believe the change will be an adjustment for the Pioneer community as a whole. “It is unfortunate that not many people outside of the art community will know to go to the library for future gallery shows, but I think it’s just something [we] need to get used to,” Zucker said. “I think it would be good to follow-up in a couple months after the dust has settled and see how things are going after a few exhibitions,” Fitch added.