Downtown Blacksburg Inc. is proud to present our non-profit Member of the Month for June 2018- Perspective Gallery.
Perspective Gallery is a 2000 square foot university gallery located at the Virginia Tech Squires Student Center on the second floor and a part of Virginia Tech Student Engagement and Campus Life a part of VT Student Affairs. The gallery is intentionally placed next to the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts Studio Theatre and Recital Salons to showcase the local, regional national and international arts events to the students of Virginia Tech and surrounding community. The gallery has been located in Squires since 1970 and was added after the first Squires renovation in 1968 – 1970. It is the oldest professional gallery in the region.
Former gallery director Thomas Butterfield brought the arts to a new level within the community during his 38 year tenure by including exhibitions from a variety of sources such as the Smithsonian Institute. Butterfield, a Virginia Tech alumnus,, began a permanent art collection for the student center which still provides visitors with a glimpse of regional art. Robin Scully, current director since 2011, has added to the collection Butterfield began. The collection, which can be seen throughout Squires, includes art from VT faculty, regional artists, and VT School of Visual art graduates. In addition to adding to the permanent collection, Robin created the Art Reach Program to bring the experience of art-making to VT students, and area school-aged children and teens in a setting outside of the gallery. Art Reach programs are developed by Robin and then presented to small groups by Perspective Gallery student staff members. Often art projects developed become a part of a social practice exhibit in the gallery. One such example of a social practice exhibit was our spring 2018 show What Color is Water?. During a two year period we worked with the community to create 588 9 x 9 inch paintings. Gallery staff went to the SEEDS Blacksburg Nature Center on Thursday afternoons and the Blacksburg Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoons to work with children and their parents on this project. This exhibit focused on the concept of water quality and was designed to create awareness of an individual’s responsibility in keeping water clean. Another community based exhibit is the Martin Luther King Jr. Children and Teen art exhibit. Each year a quote from Dr. King is used as a catalyst for the art created. Next January will be our 13th year of hosting that exhibit which is open to school-aged students from the region.
The Gallery front desk operations are run by VT students and occasionally during the summer, high school students. Perspective Gallery also has an internship program where students with a background in art, marketing, and/or business are invited to develop graphic design material, public relations packages, and surveys for assessment purposes. These skill are transferred to future jobs post-graduation and many students have let us know how much the gallery experience helped them get their jobs. . Overseeing the operations of the gallery is Robin Scully, the Art Program Director. She manages all student staffing, program development and implementation, curation, exhibit design and installation. Student staff working at the gallery learn how to assist in all of the operations necessary to keep the gallery working at professional level. We also employ the services of many local businesses to assure a high level of quality in representing artists in their exhibits.
Robin Scully has an MFA from Radford University where she studied painting with Noel Lawson and Paul Frets. Robin creates mixed media paintings inspired by the landscape, mainly of Appalachia. She also has a background as an art educator having taught art k – 12 in public schools for 10 years prior to earning her MFA. After receiving her MFA Robin became faculty at Radford University and Virginia Tech where she taught both studio and art education courses. Since 1998 she has been sole proprietor of Chinkapin Hill Studio, a mindfulness based art education program for adults, teens and children. The studio school was based in her handbuilt home for many years, but is now taught in various public spaces within the Town of Blacksburg on a limited basis.
Perspective Gallery hosts 5- 6 exhibits per year and accept proposals for exhibits. Our website has more information on how that can happen. We also have a Facebook page and a blog which you can find through our website. We represent the art of lesser known artists who have excellent work at regional, national and international levels. Part of our mission is to provide a haven for exploring your curiosity.