By Shelby Otto
As of May 2019, the student-run Eckhaus Gallery across from Betty’s on Main Street closed for the 2019-20 academic year.
The program is responsible for fostering artistic comprehension, building and installation skills, and the gallery is closed until the university can find a new location for a restructured program.
Because Eckhaus provided many art and art history students with internship opportunities, many were concerned to see the gallery close its doors. However, that issue should be remedied. According to art department chair, Dr. Daniel Haxall, “The student union galleries will now fall under the direction of Karen Stanford, a move that will better integrate arts programming across the campus and university.” As of now, Stanford runs and coordinates all the galleries here at KU.
While students (for the moment) are unable to enroll as interns at the student-run gallery, Haxall stated that “Karen oversees work study students as well as interns, so these opportunities [among the student union galleries] will help offset the loss of Eckhaus,” perhaps involving more students in the curation and installation of shows in places such as the MSU’s Brass Rail Gallery, which had previously been a separate entity from the visual arts department.
The loss of Eckhaus greatly alters the internship opportunities for KU art students, but we can look forward to some welcome changes in the running of a new Eckhaus program that will further integrate, not just the galleries across campus, but the university, surrounding community and the college of visual and performing arts as a whole.
“Ideally, a new space will be closer to campus to enable for more access from the campus community,” said Haxall. “We envision a space where music and art lessons can happen, art exhibitions can continue, screenings of films and animations can take place and perhaps KU students can market and sell their art and designs.”
Hopefully, as the on-campus galleries become more involved with one another and a new space is found for Eckhaus, students will continue to be involved in the running of university-associated art galleries, providing them with the professional experience necessary upon entering the job field today.
If the department is able to bring forth the envisioned changes for the student-run gallery, then the university community can look forward to not only a space for art but a space for diverse cultural and intellectual celebration, drawing together many individuals and the talents they possess.
The new location should harbor “a nice balance of professional exhibitions and student events. Eckhaus should be a vibrant space for a range of activities” and “an expanded art space will enrich opportunities for students through internships and programming, and the community will benefit by having more access to our events,” said Haxall.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment