|Students display work at Transpace Art Gallery|
|Written by Tim Crisp, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 10 September 2008 18:00|
The Transpace Art Gallery provides a unique opportunity to ISU art students. Located at 102 North St. in Uptown Normal, the gallery gives students the chance to curate public shows, display their work and gain experience in professional art.
Held together by a small group of faculty and student managers, the gallery acts as a medium, allowing artists to display their work on a much broader scale. All shows are free and open to the public, and the Uptown location provides a unique array of diverse visitors.
Students present ideas and concepts for shows to the gallery's small committee which chooses the strongest ideas and then sets up the month-long shows. Gallery workers help artists with the development of the concept and make the show come alive. The rest, however, is the responsibility of the artists.
Jacob DeGeal, Transpace's webmaster, became the gallery's first student manager before the fall semester of 2006 when he was an undergraduate. He is responsible for the inception of the website (transpacegallery.org) and played a large part in the development of the gallery.
"It was, and still is, an oasis where [artists] have the freedom to try new ideas without the pressure of academic success, privatized values or public censorship," DeGeal said. "Our number one concern was, and still is, the student."
"I feel Transpace is hugely important to art students," DeGeal said. "There [aren't] a lot of gallery opportunities for students to show work in the town, and you can witness this through the migration from galleries to coffee shops, bakeries, apartments, basements of homes and even bank lobbies. The demand is real."
Kim Ewald, a senior bachelor of fine arts in ceramics and studio arts major, was a contributing artist and curator to the May 2008 show, "You've Got to Kiss A Lot of Colors Before You Find Your Space."
"The artists showing work at Transpace are completely responsible for advertising their own show, the installation of their work and the cleanup and repair of the space when finished. It is an excellent chance for students to become fully responsible for their art and its display," Ewald said.
"As a student artist, I am thankful that Illinois State has a student gallery solely for our use, not only for the widened opportunity to show work within the community, but also because it is completely student run," Ewald continued.
While the importance to students and the ISU arts community is readily apparent, a void lies between the established crowd and the general public. While enormous strides have been made in a short amount of time, there is still a gap yet to be bridged.
Patrick Nordyke, a senior Bachelor of Studio Arts major and gallery manager, spoke of the difficulties Transpace has had in bringing in a wider audience. "If someone really likes art, they'll go out of their way to find it. But we've had a problem bringing people outside that demographic in."
DeGeal, however, is more than optimistic about the
gallery's role within a changing Uptown Normal.
"Transpace's role in Uptown Normal is pivotal to the development of not only art students and the School of Art, but to Illinois State University's relationship with Uptown Normal, and to the development of Uptown Normal itself," Nordyke said.
"I think Transpace can grow along with the other main-stays of Uptown Normal and preserve the familiarity people have with this area, while also gaining a new population of observers and critics. We might then see a large diversity of people experiencing artwork, being challenged by what they see, and becoming more willing to give feedback," DeGeal said.
A ray of optimism shines forth on the future for Transpace as it opens a new semester. On Sept. 2, Transpace opened the "New Graduate Show" which will be run until Oct. 3.
As always, the show is free and open to the public.