The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Defunding Hege Art Gallery would be a terrible waste

It’s one of our most well-known features. It’s one of the few things that separate us in a great way from other small, private liberal arts colleges.

And it’s in danger.

Of course, I’m referring to the art gallery in Hege Library.

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about the Administrative Program and Services Assessment floating around campus. Our school is planning on changing a lot, and while most of the list focuses on simply reconstructing parts of our school, our library’s art gallery might be eliminated.

“The art gallery’s survival is uncertain because of lack of funds,” the Guilford Beacon said. “The elimination of the Administrative Assistant Position is recommended. APSA recommends a five-year timeline to raise funds, and if fundraising goals are not met, elimination of the Art Gallery, as well as Terry Hammond’s position as curator, will be unavoidable.”

Five years may seem like enough time to pull together some money, but it’s questionable, considering the sum needed is $1.5 million.

But why does this matter so much?

“It brightens the atmosphere, and it makes Guilford a better place to be in general,” junior Amanda Williams said.

And she’s not alone. The campus has lit up with discussion about this choice, and almost all of it is in favor of keeping the art gallery.

“Over the 14 years I’ve been here, (the art gallery) has gotten more positive press than anything else here at Guilford,” said Visiting Instructor of English Caroline McAlister. “It brings together the Guilford community and the community outside of the college.”

The art gallery expresses much of what the Guilford College community stands for. It showcases a wide variety of cultures and encourages us to come together. It opens closed minds to new viewpoints. And it offers a source of inspiration to anyone who comes searching.

Not to mention that it’s beautiful to walk through and makes our campus truly unique.

Yet we’re thinking about getting rid of such a treasure?

The board says it’s because the gallery lacks direct impact. However, that’s not easy to give when speaking about gaining new viewpoints and inspiration.

“(The gallery) has a way of truly touching people, and that’s not something you can record or replace,” said Curator of the Art Gallery Terry Hammond.

“Even though it’s hard to quantify how many people go into (the gallery) and are affected by it, I know a ton of people who do go and really enjoy it,” Williams said.

The art gallery’s intangible value is important to many at Guilford. But the art gallery doesn’t just host art shows. It also features lectures and other events, raising its use and capital.

“I’ve been to more lectures in the art gallery than anywhere else on campus, and I truly enjoy them,” McAlister said.

The lectures attract students from all different majors, and many of them go on unrecorded walk-throughs after the lectures.

“This is not something that is just for the art department,” Hammond said, “It’s used by many different disciplines. It’s surprising how integrated is. I’ve worked with everything from the English department to the economics department.”

The facts remain that the art gallery is a huge part of our campus. It helps shape us, influence it and publicize it. And we’re on the verge of losing it.

Chances are that decision isn’t going to change much in the two weeks the administration gave us students to read and respond to the report, and we certainly weren’t represented well in the APSA committee.

A college is made up of students, faculty and staff. Having each group represented by a single person was a poor choice, and now we are left with the aftermath.

Guilford, we have five years.

Are you ready to fight?

[polldaddy poll=7450087]

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