The Library Learning Commons is excited to have a new exhibit in the LLC Rotating Art Gallery. The Gallery is located in the lower level hallways, and the openness and large size of the space present some challenges to finding artwork to display. This issue, coupled with the absence of a Director of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center (who secured the previous two exhibits), made it difficult for us to find collections. As such, the Gallery had been empty since the previous exhibit from the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition left last year.
After many months of walking by bare walls, we decided to explore other options for artwork. The new gallery was the result of a brainstorming between Christine Fullerton, Public Services Librarian, and Kristol Cummings, Project Coordinator for the TLT. We thought we could utilize the artistic talents of our students to beautify the library. We also wanted to strengthen the sense of connectedness between students and the library. Since LLC part-time staff member, Whitney Hensley, has participated in numerous Sip and Paint events, we thought that would be a potential option. These discussions resulted in a Painting in the Library event, held the afternoon of Thursday, October 25, in LLC 110.
The LLC partnered with Residence Life Association (RLA) to co-sponsor this event. We provided the idea, space, and some of the supplies. RLA provided food, additional supplies, and their marketing expertise. Taylor Osmotherly, Associate Director of Residence Life, helped with the initial planning for the event. He also found an RA who assumed the role of our RLA contact. RA Sadie Sheppard handled the marketing and social media posts, as well as hustling to find students who would want to participate. She also recruited RAs Michaela Shulltis, Taylee Neefe, and Quentin Baxter to assist with the event, alongside LLC/TLT staff Christine Fullerton, Kristol Cummings, and Whitney Hensley.
About 35 students attended. We had originally asked students to reserve a spot because registration was initially capped at 22 students. We quickly scuttled that plan when we had a large number of excited participants simply show up to the event, and we realized that we could accommodate them. RLA had anticipated that we might have a large walk-up crowd, so they brought an extra dozen canvases.
We are all very excited about the creativity and variety of the artwork. Students created art featuring mountain landscapes, inspirational quotes, flowers, and abstract designs. The artwork will hang until at least May 2019. Students will have the opportunity to pick up their artwork during Spring Finals Week or they can choose to donate it to the Gallery. The event was well-received, and we hope that we are able to do it again next year.
The LLC Rotating Art Gallery is open during normal library hours. Stop by and check it out!