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Union art galleries to transform into larger main room to exhibit student creations

The Union art galleries will fuse into one practical showcase, upgrading to exhibit student creations as soon as the start of fall semester.

The proposed arrangement will add flow and spaciousness to the separate rooms by introducing a connecting archway, along with an exposed ceiling and upgraded halogen track lighting.

Originally identified as retail locations when the Union opened in 2002, the spaces were left vacant until the idea to host exhibitions for students in the School of Fine Arts quickly led to a student petition to make the rooms permanent galleries.

However, the room wasn’t constructed with the intent to show art. Because the drywall enclosure was meant to house a small business, hanging art means puncture and patch for the walls every 2-3 weeks.

Kim Jacobs, associate director of the Union, said the cost and effort expended on the puttying and repainting the walls isn’t worth the trouble because they’re so damaged now.

‘Soon we’re not going to have walls’ said Jacobs, who jokingly commented that the walls are mainly composed of plaster.

The person in charge of the construction, maintenance worker Deb Marsh, also is ready to lose the worn-out walls.

‘I hate them – there are holes everywhere,’ Marsh said.

She pointed out that behind the art on display the walls are seriously pock-marked.

For inspiration for the Union’s revised gallery, Marsh and Jacobs visited the Toledo Museum of Art. Mimicking TMA’s layout, their plan includes, above all, pre-constructed ‘self-healing’ fabric walls that hold art with special hangers.

The other big improvement is creating an opening in the dividing wall to allow visitors to navigate both rooms without walking out into the mezzanine area and into the other.

To counter the wall space lost by adding the archway, Marsh said rolling walls also will be added.

Amber LeFever, arts education junior, currently has her work on display in the galleries. With a set of black-and-white photographs separated from contrastingly colorful paintings, LeFever said the disconnected rooms were perfect for her pieces, but said arranging them together in a single space might have made them ‘more dynamic.’

Adding a new dynamic to the Union galleries is what Marsh and Jacobs aim to accomplish.

Jacobs said research for the art gallery redesign is in its final phases and construction will begin in mid-July with financing through the Auxiliary Improvement Project funds from BGSU.

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