Students at Cayuga Community College have a new space to display their artwork, thanks to the efforts of the library staff. On March 24, the College officially opened a new gallery space in the College Library on the Auburn campus that currently features the artwork of a Cayuga student, an alumnus, and an art professor from the Fulton campus.
The Library also kicked off a “Name the Gallery” contest, which is opened to all students, faculty, and staff. All entries are due by April 15, and the winner, who will receive a $10 Visa gift card, will be announced on April 20. The only criterion for submission is that the gallery name must contain the word “Library” in its title.
Two-time Cayuga alumnus Michael Engler, who earned a liberal arts degree and then later a studio arts degree at Cayuga, attended the opening to answer questions about the two pieces of his work on display. He made both as a student during an independent study with Prof. Richard Pardee. Engler said he was pleasantly surprised when the Library asked to purchase the prints to begin building its own collection of student work.
“I feel very fortunate to have been a student here at Cayuga, and it’s an honor to have my work included in this Library collection,” Engler said. “It’s neat to think that I will always be part of this campus.”
The idea for the gallery arose when the Library started taking down bookshelves because so much of the collections had moved into online formats and databases. “We had this bare wall, and I thought, ‘why not provide a space for students to exhibit their work,’” said Sara Davenport, the tech services librarian who spearheaded the gallery project. “So we started to build a collection by purchasing student work.”
To date, the Library has five pieces in its permanent collection, three works donated by student Amy Chamberlain and the two prints by Engler, who went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts at SUNY Oswego. The Library hopes to purchase a few pieces by students each year to build their collection, and also invites students, especially those who are required in their studio art classes to have their work featured in an exhibition, to consider sharing their work in the new gallery space. They will also showcase works on temporary display by faculty, students, and staff.
The two-hour opening reception featured acoustic guitar music by student Emmett Drury.
“The idea to feature student musicians came from a student survey the Library conducted,” Davenport said. “We would like the Library to be a mixed space that has very interactive spaces as well as quiet spaces for reading and studying. As a community college, we try to serve the needs of a very diverse population.”