Built on a longstanding history of community and local artistry, the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery is reaching its fiftieth year of existence this September, since its creation in 1964.
New director, Brian Wallace, has taken up the gallery’s mission to provide the community with a place to deepen appreciation and awareness of the visual arts, showcasing three shows this fall for the anniversary.
Wallace, who has been appointed as director since the middle of June, briefly explained the history behind the gallery and his plans to become more involved and well know in the campus community.
“I mean, there’s been a gallery on campus for, well, 50 years, and it started as a community project in the library and it slowly became larger and eventually in the early 90s this building that we are in now was developed, designed, funded and then built.”
The gallery’s initial establishment was funded for by community members and it still retains close ties to Keene’s public today, often featuring artists from around the surrounding areas.
As for plans for the fiftieth anniversary of the gallery, Wallace is ardent about connecting the past with the future.
“We are looking back at the first fifty years and we are thinking about what the next fifty might bring. The world has changed
a lot in fifty years. If you think that’s going to slow down, you’re mistaken”.
Wallace said he plans to hold a big celebration on September 24, complete with refreshments and local bands, once again reflecting on the close communal ties the Thorne-Sagendorph has with the town of Keene.
“It’s a well kept secret,” Wallace said with a laugh. He continued, “This gallery is free and open to the public and Keene state students.”
Wallace said he hopes to use the party to generate awareness for the availability of the gallery, and the fact that it is accessible for free right on campus.
Transfer student and nutrition major, Lindsay Hampson, knows very little about the gallery and its existence on campus, but says the hype the anniversary is generating might be enough to peak her interest.
“I am not majorly interested in art, or knowledgeable about it, but it is pretty cool we have this resource right on campus. I might check it out to learn more,” Hampson explained. “If it’s free and right here, why not learn a little more?” Hampson said.
The Thorne-Sagendorph also provides an internship to a Keene State art student, allowing them to get behind the scenes of the three shows it has per semester.
Unboxing, cataloging and preparing the pieces for their respective shows are some of the hands on experiences each intern can receive.
BFA Major in Printmaking,Jessica Boushie, explained “It’s really beneficial for my major, providing on hands experience. I’ve been working hourly here for awhile”.
Boushie said that the gallery renovations were completed just in time for the anniversary.
“ It’s just the time…,” Boushie said.
Meridith King can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org