UAB Visual Arts Gallaery, 1974-2014


Immediate Predecessor:

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Immediate Successor:

2014- , Abroms-Engels Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA)

Reporting Hierarchy:

1974-1987: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Humanities, Vice President for University College, President;
1987-1989: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for University College, President;
1989-1995: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for Academic Affairs, President;
1995:  Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for Academic Affairs, President;
1995-2010: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, School of Arts and Humanities, Provost, President;
2010-2014: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, College of Arts and Sciences, Provost, President.

Curator/Director:

(Interim) John T. Fields, Director, 2011-2014
Brett Levine, Director/Curator, 2001-2011
Antoinette "Toni" Johnson Nordan, Curator, 1986-2001
Patricia Phelps Farmer, Curator, 1977-1978
John M. Schnorrenberg, Director, 1977-1990
(Acting) Edith H. Frohock, Director, 1975-1977
Virginia Pitts Rembert, Director, 1974-1975

History:

The UAB Visual Arts Gallery was opened in 1974 in the new administrative and classroom building of the School of Humanities, a building which had just been formally dedicated on May 20, 1973.  The Visual Arts Gallery was a component of UAB's Department of Art -- renamed as Art and Art History in 1995 -- and was first referred to as the student gallery in a newsletter from 1974.  Later in the same year, the space became known as the Visual Arts Gallery.

The chair of the Department of Art originally maintained the day-to-day operation of the Gallery along with the assistance from various departmental faculty, staff, and students.  In 1977 staff were assigned to the Gallery on a part-time basis in order to assist the chair who still functioned as Gallery director.  The Visual Arts Gallery was housed in several rooms located on the first floor of the Humanities Building and its function was "instructional, research, and service to the school, university, and community" with the additional responsibility to administer the care and exhibition of works of art owned by UAB.  A community supporter donated several dozen twentieth-century items in 1974 as the first major acquisition for the Gallery, and in 1978 the Gallery made the first purchase for the permanent collection.  In June 1979 the first issue of the Visual Arts Gallery Papers was published as a list of works with a brief commentary on the items being exhibited.

The Gallery hosted the art department's first juried student show in 1977, receiving 79 student produced submissions, 40 of which were displayed in the Gallery during the inaugural show that spring.  The use of the Gallery space became even more important after 1985 with the creation of a B.F.A. degree in the art department.  One of the requirements of the degree was the public exhibition of completed works.

In January of 2014 UAB opened the Abroms-Engels Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) as the new home for the art history department and as the exhibition space for the University's works of visual arts; AEIVA also provides space for the exhibition of traveling or for specially curated shows.  The exhibit of works of UAB students and faculty was also moved to AEIVA so the Visual Arts Gallery -- in the Humanities Building -- ceased to exist as a separate and distinct entity within the department.  However, in the fall of 2015 the space formerly housing the Visual Arts Gallery was reopened as the department's new exhibition and reception space known as "Project Space."  Project Space is an "adaptive space that cultivates and supports meaningful creative investigation, interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship by providing an alternate platform for UAB Department of Art and Art History students, faculty and community to engage teaching, research, public service, and visual arts practices" (Departmental website, September 2015).

By Tim L. Pennycuff

Records Series

47.1, Visual Arts Gallery Exhibition Files, 1973-2001, 11.33 cubic feet
P47.1, Visual Arts Gallery Exhibition Photographs, 1982-2001, 0.75 cubic foot
47.2, Visual Arts Gallery Papers, 1977-2000, 1.33 cubic feet

Related Series

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This page created 2018

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.