The J. Wayne Stark Galleries, Forsyth Galleries and Reynolds Gallery are officially closed to the public.
Texas A&M has enforced the closure of all three MSC art galleries as a safety measure due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. It was decided upon March 23 and will continue on for an indefinite period. However, the Reynolds Gallery will still be holding ArtFest online.
Molly Painter, the marketing and communications specialist for the University Art Galleries, said the closures serve as a means of precaution during this pandemic.
“The university art galleries were closed after careful consideration and guidance from Texas A&M University administrators in the nature of protecting the health and safety of our community,” Painter said.
All events planned by the Stark and Forsyth Galleries for this semester have consequently been canceled. Although the closing of the art exhibitions is only temporary, there has yet to be an announced date for when they will be open again to the public.
“It is unknown at this time,” Painter said. “Under the guidance and direction of Texas A&M University, we will continue to assess our public access as new information becomes available.”
Joshua Carley, director of the Reynolds Gallery, said they’re still trying to give art back to the Aggie community during this time. Therefore, even though the annual event of ArtFest can no longer be held in person, ArtFest will still take place in a digital setting.
“ArtFest [is] where we host student artists from all over the university to be able to display their art in a more professional gallery setting,” Carley said. “We had one of our advisors go in and take photographs of every single work of art that we have [and] upload it to the page on our website.”
Artwork will be judged by both a panel of judges and students who can interact with the art and vote online.
“[Although] we do have a panel of judges that come in, there are also students who can come vote,” Carley said. “At the end of [the] PowerPoint, it should direct you to a Google form where you’re able to vote [until April 17] for a favorite piece of art.”
Aside from ArtFest, all other exhibits in the Reynolds Gallery have been postponed to the next academic year.
“We have been fortunate with the artists who have been helpful through this entire process,” Carley said. “They’ve been enthusiastic to still have their art be hosted by us at a later date when things are hopefully more settled down.”
The University Art Galleries’ website will continue to post updates to keep students informed about any policy changes. Even though the MSC Art Galleries may no longer be physically open, Painter said she is proud of how the university is prioritizing the students’ safety.
“Texas A&M has been monitoring the situation vigilantly and keeping everyone educated and informed,” Painter said. “I feel very fortunate to work for an institution that always treats the health and well-being of our community as a top priority.”