Foster Gallery plans diverse exhibitions for 2016

First exhibition to open Thursday featuring faculty art

More stories from Erica Jones

DIY diaries
May 9, 2018

Photo by Erica Jones

The Foster Gallery’s first exhibition, opening Thursday, showcases a wide range of faculty art.

Anticipation mounts before the first exhibition of the year is revealed, as faculty and students at the Foster Gallery are busy organizing, hanging and labeling artwork on previously bare walls.

The Foster Gallery will premiere from 6 – 7:30 on Sept. 8 with an opening reception for the upcoming Art & Design Faculty Exhibition, the first of eight during the academic school year. The show features art and research by all faculty members in the department.

Although there is no specific theme behind the first show, Interim Gallery Director Jill Olm said there are always unintentional themes and connections that are fascinating to find. The exhibition represents the current interests of the faculty, and while the range of work is broad, sometimes the interests still overlap.

Two more non-traditional pieces will be shown in the Art & Design Faculty Exhibition, Olm said: a published body of research in a book and an interactive website.

She said the diversity of the exhibitions this upcoming year will be exciting.

“We have three exhibitions this year that will be student work from our own department,” Olm said. “We’re bringing in some alumni work. We also have a historical show as well as a German expressionist show.”

Along with the diversity of the exhibitions comes the diversity of this year’s speakers. Olm said there will be at least one speaker for almost every exhibition since sometimes “art doesn’t talk.” The speakers range from faculty in the art and design department to off-campus guests, as well as students and staff from other departments.

“I hope the Foster Gallery helps to create cross-disciplinary connections,” Olm said. “It helps create dialogue to ask ‘Why is art important?’ Art is a mode of communication as much as speaking, listening, reading and writing.”

Olm also said looking at and experimenting with art gives people a way to engage with knowledge and information in a creative and different way. Art itself asks new questions and generates critical thinking among its audience.

Olm said art students can look forward to this exhibition because it allows students to get a better feel for who their professors are and how they express themselves outside of the classroom.

Olm’s student intern Mollie Leefin agreed. She said it is a good experience to be able to see what her professors are working on outside of teaching. Seeing other artist’s work and being able to bounce ideas off each other helps her, and others, to grow as individuals, Leffin said.

“We’ll never be in this environment again where we’re surrounded by a lot of artists and we actually get to see what they’re doing,” she said. “This gallery lets people see things they wouldn’t get to otherwise.”

“If you want to see a part of Eau Claire through the eyes of the arts, this is the perfect way to do it,” Leffin said. “These people have been here the longest and they have really interesting things to say about themselves and the community.”

The Foster Gallery is located in Haas Fine Arts Center and is open weekdays 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Thursday evenings 6 – 8 p.m. and weekends 1 – 4:30 p.m.