The Anderson Gallery, the former VCU School of the Arts exhibition facility, ended its four decades of exhibitions on May 18, 2015, to be replaced by the Depot and the Institute for Contemporary Art.
Prior to the closure of the Anderson Gallery, it functioned as a space to present student work in annual student exhibitions for undergraduate student work and exhibited the MFA thesis shows.
Dean of the VCUarts Joseph Seipel said the closure of the Anderson Gallery was prompted by the soon-to-open ICA.
“Positions that had been part of the Anderson Gallery have now been moved over to Institute for Contemporary Art,” Seipel said. “We didn’t want to duplicate efforts, so it made sense to move everything over.”
The first floor will hold the offices and break out rooms – study areas that can be reserved – for the Arts Research Institute, an expansion of research efforts in the School of the Arts, which is launching in September 2016. Also, many of the courses that are taught through the commonwealth society will be held on the first floor.
The use of the second floor is still up for discussion, but it’s projected it will be used for research and interdisciplinary activities.
The third floor has two studios that will be used by the Communication Arts department.
Minimum renovations will be made to the Anderson due to budget costs, but Seipel said accessible bathrooms are a must.
“We don’t have a great deal of funding for it,” Seipel said. “We’ll be doing what we can with local funds.”
Some of the art previously housed in the Anderson Gallery will be stored indefinitely, including both student and professional works. A selection of these have been moved to Cabell Library as part of a teaching collection for student study.
Seipel also noted that Cabell Library will provide better temperature and humidity control than the nearly-century-old Anderson Gallery.
“The (ICA) will be focused on arts research and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Suzanne Silitch, director of communications for VCUarts.
VCU’s Anderson Gallery was established through a monetary gift given to the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) in 1930 by Colonel Abraham Archibald Anderson.
“I envision a wonderful future for Richmond as an art center; the cities of the country will soon look to her with pride,” Colonel Anderson said. “If in my small way, by word or work, I can help Richmond to achieve this noble result, I shall consider that I have not lived in vain.”
RPI undertook the renovation of the Ginter Mansion stable.The administration of Richmond Professional Institute, in consultation with Colonel. Anderson, turned the stable building into an art gallery and library.
Initially, the only change made to the exterior of the building was the installation of front doors.
Inside, the second-floor hayloft, which had high ceilings, was converted into gallery space, while first floor became the library.
The A.A. Anderson Gallery of Art opened to the public in 1931, and its inaugural exhibition featured Colonel Anderson’s paintings. Throughout the 1930s, the Gallery maintained a full exhibition schedule and served as Richmond’s only art exhibition facility until the VMFA opened in 1936.
Over time, several major additions changed the facade and structure of the building. In 1939, a third floor was added for use as art studios and, in 1947, the fourth floor was built.
A commemorative book about the institution is due out later this month.
Staff Writer, Sophia Belletti
Sophia is a sophomore print/online journalism major with a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She enjoys writing about current events and sports and hopes to one day be a sports reporter, covering soccer, basketball and baseball. You can usually find Sophia drinking way too much coffee and laughing at her own jokes. // Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
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