After a lengthy discussion over the future of the Hartnett Gallery, the Students’ Association Senate voted to continue funding the Hartnett Gallery using the Students’ Association Appropriations Committees budgeting advice for one year.
There were, however, some stipulations. First, the Hartnett Gallery must vigorously pursue outside sources of funding, primarily from the administration. Also, the senate encouraged those running the gallery to make a stronger public relations drive on campus, both in terms of advertising for shows and recruiting new undergraduate members to join the organization.
“I respect SAAC’s judgment regarding the gallery’s budget,” SA Senator and sophomore Danielle Friedman said. “I think it is important for Hartnett to increase its membership, advertise more visibly and explore funding alternatives so that they can still be a strong organization and resource.”
With only 10 members on its board, the Hartnett Gallery is seeking to extend its appeal to undergraduate students. Currently the gallery advertises primarily in academic buildings and several publications. “Advertising shows and meetings in dorms is usually more successful,” senator and sophomore Tom Hayes said. “In academic buildings, the bulletin boards are overflowing with notices, so it is very easy for one ad to disappear in the others.”
Additionally, the Hartnett Gallery is trying to improve membership by branching out and cosponsoring events with other SA groups. “This past fall, the Hartnett Committee collaborated with several SA-funded groups to stage the first annual Day Without Art/World AIDS Day installation,” doctoral student in Visual and Cultural Studies and graduate intern Lucy Curzon said. “Pride Network, Women’s Caucus and SALSA worked together with the Hartnett Gallery Committee to commemorate those who have died from AIDS by stringing through Wilson Commons hundreds of items of black mourning clothes of all shapes and sizes.”
The debate about the Hartnett Gallery’s future began a few weeks ago as the SA budget crunch grew more severe. The Hartnett Gallery is currently solely funded by the SA. Since five out of the gallery’s six annual shows feature professional artists, some students have expressed skepticism and questioned why the SA was fully sponsoring the program, but overall feel that the gallery is significant.
“I think that it is very important to have a professional art gallery available and we should support them to some extent because they are a student resource,” SA Senator and sophomore Jack Vorhees said. “However, I don’t think that it’s fair for us to have to fully fund a program that professors are using as a teaching resource. That is their department and the university’s responsibility.”
Both the senate and those representing Hartnett Gallery agree that the administration should provide the gallery with funding since it also serves as a major attraction and resource for classes, prospective students, public relations and alumni.
“The Senate and the Hartnett Committee could also work together to lobby the Dean’s office for additional funding,” Curzon said. “After all, as I have been arguing, an on-campus art gallery is fundamental to the life of this university, such that it should also be a concern of the university administration.”
Regardless of who funds the gallery in the future, the students present at the meeting and the senators agreed that the gallery is an important part of the university, which deserves support.
“Recently the Hartnett Committee has done a lot to reach out and coordinate with other student organizations,” Co-director of Pride Network and sophomore Ciara Relyea said. “Without the Hartnett Gallery students would be losing a very valuable part of this school.”
“Next week I will put a resolution before the Senate as a sign of support for the Hartnett Gallery,” SA Senator and junior Alex Voetsch said. “We will work through our administrative contacts to help the gallery get funding from the administration.”
Keesing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.