Visual Variety: University of North Georgia brings in works from visiting artists as well as students

By Michelle Boaen Jameson
Photos courtesy University of North Georgia

Home Magazine talked with UNG Director of Art Galleries Victoria Cooke about what the university offers both the community and students in the way of visual art and installations. With serious majors in art and art education, there is no shortage of students and artists to showcase their talents.

Allen Chen’s “The Space Between”

Question: How many galleries are on campus at UNG?
Answer: There are galleries on three of UNG’s five campuses: Bob Owens Art Gallery in Dahlonega, Roy C. Moore Art Gallery Gainesville and the Oconee Campus Art Gallery.

Q: How many shows are held each year?
A: Each of the galleries had approximately six exhibitions each year.

Q: What are the hours for public viewings?
A: This varies according to the gallery/campus but can be found on the website for each of the galleries. The public can also attend our artist talks and receptions. All are free and open to the public. Visit for more information.

Q: What is the mission of the art galleries?
A: The mission of the University of North Georgia Art Galleries is to provide access to cultural experiences, to foster an understanding of a diverse and global society.

Ed Gilliam: Works from the Thomas E. Scanlin Collection

Q: Tell me about some of the visiting artists who have exhibited?
A: In the past year we have had visiting artists from all over the region. We are opening this semester in Gainesville with an installation of a new collaborative work by Sandra Trujillo and Curtis Stewardson called “Stories.” They created this work for this exhibition and it is being revealed to the public (and to me) for the first time as we open the show. Last semester, we had a painter join us from Columbia, South Carolina, and in the spring we will welcome a sculptor from Charlotte, North Carolina.
In Dahlonega we have a Printmaking biennial that draws artists from all over the country (and sometimes from outside the U.S.) This is a juried exhibition and the winner each year has a solo exhibition the following year. This is an exhibition which exposes students to a variety of contemporary printmakers, their work and their methods.
In the fall, students were delighted by the work of textile artist Andrea Wellnitz who included a three-dimensional, fully interactive pod made out of wet-worked felt in her exhibition where visitors could leave messages to other visitors.

Q: What about student shows? What kind of art is shown?
A: Each year, each of the campuses has a student exhibition where the finest of the student work is chosen for exhibition in the galleries. These exhibitions highlight excellence in all disciplines including drawing, painting, printmaking, graphic design and ceramics. These shows are among our most popular exhibitions and not only celebrate the remarkable achievements of the students, they also demonstrate the strengths of the visual art departments on each of the campuses.

Q: What are the future plans for UNG galleries?
A: The UNG galleries strive to bring more innovative art to the campuses in the future. Our hope is to foster education through exhibitions and programming. As the university grows, the galleries will grow with it. We are planning to host an international textile exhibition in the near future as well as a retrospective for the UNG printmaking biennials. We are looking for more ways to connect with students across the university disciplines in new ways.

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