Marshall University’s School of Art and Design is relocating its Birke Art Gallery from Smith Hall to the Visual Arts Center in downtown Huntington and is hosting a grand re-opening celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. It takes place at 927 Third Ave. and is free and open to all.
The Birke Art Gallery opened in 1977 and was the main gallery for the School of Art and Design until 2014, when the Visual Art Center was opened in downtown Huntington. It was named for Helen Birke, an ardent supporter of the arts in West Virginia who served as director of the Huntington Galleries, a member of the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council, the Marshall Foundation Board of Directors, and founder and sponsor of the Birke Fine Arts Symposium.
The Birke gallery will re-open in the space that became available after the Brad D. Smith Business Incubator merged with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (iCenter), now located in the Lewis College of Business’s Corbly Hall and soon to be located in the Brad D. Smith Center for Business Innovation, which is under construction.
The move consolidates three galleries within the Visual Art Center and the School of Art and Design: the Birke Art Gallery, the Charles W. and Norma C. Carroll Gallery and the Student Gallery. The re-opening celebration will feature the work of School of Art and Design students in all three galleries.
“When the move was announced, it energized the School of Art and Design and strengthened our commitment as a cultural voice for Marshall University, Huntington, and the Tri-State region,” said Dr. Mark Zanter, interim director of the School of Art and Design.
The first exhibit on display in the new Birke Art Gallery location will be Foundations Review: Selected Student Works, on view Nov. 16 through Dec. 1. Those students who have completed the Foundations Review process will display the best examples of artwork made during this period of intensive skill acquisition. Visitors to this exhibition will see a convergence of everything art students learn to do. There will be ceramics, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and everything in between.
Foundations Review: Selected Student Works will also include a reception for this exhibit Nov. 16 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Awards will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome.
“One of the exciting things about this move is that the new Birke Art Gallery has windows, giant windows facing Third Avenue,” said Jamie Platt, director of galleries for the School of Art and Design. “Passersby will at last be able to glimpse from the street the vibrant creative atmosphere inside the Visual Arts Center. Once they see it, they’re going to want to come in and see it up close, and they can!”
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 304-696-7929 for more information. For more information about the School of Art and Design, visit www.marshall.edu/art.