If you haven’t taken a stroll around the Ringling College of Art and Design campus lately, you probably don’t know what you’re missing.
You may know about the campus’ new and acclaimed library, its soundstage for film production, and the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center, a new structure that opened last month and houses space for printmaking, photography, sculpture, glass blowing and more. All of these buildings have transformed the college visually and prepared it to play its role in the 21st-century world.
But, in a quieter way, the various art galleries on the campus transform viewers, too, whether they’re students, faculty or just art lovers who attend exhibitions and the talks, workshops, film screenings and performances that accompany them.
All that activity takes place in four galleries on the campus led by interim director and chief curator Mark Ormond, along with campus and community engagement manager Tim Jaeger and a small staff. (A fifth gallery, the new William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Gallery, is run by the illustration department and focuses on illustration work only.) And this month, as the height of the busy season approaches, you can take in four exhibitions with very different goals and aspirations.
The first, in the Richard and Barbara Basch Gallery, presents works in the increasingly popular medium of art glass. Cast and Cut—Glass (Jan. 8 through March 24) offers creations by more than two dozen masters of the form, including Peter Bremers, Vadlec Cigar, Irene Frolic and Seth Randal, exposing the viewer to several styles and methods of glass casting and etching.
The second show, in the new Lois and David Stulberg Gallery designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects (on the site of the former Selby Gallery), marks the 10-year anniversary of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA), a project founded to investigate labor, time and what we value. Publications and ephemera from the 10 years of the project, as well as the interactive creation of a collaborative publication, produced on site, will be facilitated by ILSSA co-founder Emily Larned in As Many Hours As It Takes, on view Jan. 12 through March 17.
The third show, set in the Willis Smith Gallery, is the Peace Paper Project, in collaboration with Yale University. More than just an exhibition of the art of creating paper, this project utilizes that creation as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement and community activism. Co-founders Drew Matot and Margaret Mahan will be on hand to give talks and workshops that welcome veterans and other trauma victims who can bring in objects that may be associated with their trauma to be pulped as part of the healing process. Ongoing Jan. 12 through March 24.
And lastly, the Patricia Thompson Gallery, in the college’s administration building (and therefore a highly trafficked area), which specializes in displaying works by alumni, presents master Impressionist painter Katie Dobson Cundiff (Jan. 19-March 23). Cundiff, who has been featured in Plein Air Magazine and American Art Collector, will focus here on her oil paintings and illustrations on board.
Overall, Ormond and Jaeger continue to look for ways to reach out to the wider community, “cross-pollinating” with other arts organizations like the Perlman Music Program Suncoast (presenting string quartet music for gallery audiences), and with area businesses that also give Ringling students the opportunity for real-world experience—the results of which can also be shown on gallery walls. It’s all about spreading the word of the galleries’ ongoing representation of the visual arts.
As Jaeger says, “We’re here, we’re free, we’re open.” For gallery hours and more information on upcoming shows, call 359-7563 or click here.