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Art for students’ sake

Humboldt State University must not pull funding and close the Third Street Gallery in Old Town Eureka, which has provided local art to the community for 20 years.

As reported in the Lumberjack, by Ahmed Al-Sakkaf on Jan. 16, Humboldt State must perform budget cuts that require slashing a third of the budget used to keep the gallery open.

The art gallery has been open and providing Humboldt State students with hands-on career experience on multiple levels. The gallery allows students the opportunity to curate exhibitions and work in professional settings, as well as organize and present art to the community.

The space is vital to giving students an idea of the business relationship they must facilitate early in their artistic or curating careers.

For a professional-in-training seeking to promote their works and talents into the community, galleries like Third Street Gallery are a vital stepping stone to professional work.

As stated on the HSU Art Galleries web page, this art gallery provides “students at all levels and disciplines” the opportunity to contribute “through internships, work-study jobs, student exhibitions, and interactions with featured international, national, and regional artists.”

Finishing school leaves students searching for jobs that hire based off previously acquired experience.

Unfortunately, studying for the career you want is almost never considered to meet the required experience standards. Without these opportunities, the budding Third Street Gallery art and exhibition curators must work even harder to land their first job or show.

According to The Working Artist, promoting art in a gallery is about who you know. Developing a relationship with a gallery is important to getting your foot in the door as an artist. Allowing the gallery to be lost as a resource to students would be the equivalent of ending a 20-year relationship with the community.

The university should explore and strongly consider other options on how to cut funds or seek budget cuts in other places. Even cutting back on what is provided on campus and putting more resources toward the Third Street Gallery would be more beneficial to aspiring artists and curators.

It can be argued that removing this gallery will just move the opportunity on campus, and there is no loss of hands-on work. However, removing student work from a venue accessible to the local community instead of the college community would be a giant disservice to artists and curators.

Subjecting this important, career-motivating venue to budget cuts and its inevitable closure is unacceptable.

As gallery director Jack Bentley said to the Lumberjack newspaper, the proposal to close the gallery would be “very short-sighted.”

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