Staff and community members of the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus urged the Board of Trustee’s to reconsider the closing of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at their monthly meeting Thursday morning in Rome Ballroom.
Earlier this year UConn “decided to eliminate the gallery’s curator-director position as the college faced huge budget cuts from the state.” The gallery officially closed its doors at the end of July, according to the New London Day.
“[This] is a huge loss for eastern Connecticut, “State Sen. Cathy Osten (D-District 19) said.
Osten commended the University for the signs on the Storrs campus promoting the arts.=
“Avery Point doesn’t get [the same] resource spending up here,” Osten said.
The art gallery on the regional campus was used by students, faculty and community members, and attracted over 4,000 visitors (not including students) each year, according to Osten.
“Where else will you find a small campus with world class art?” Mystic attorney Richard Dixon said.
Many people voiced their concerns about the gallery’s closure as a loss of culture for that area of the state. The gallery brought in international artists and held exhibitions relating to social issues including the environment with “Water, Water Everywhere” and “The Plastic Ocean.”
Diane Barcelo, who teaches art appreciation at Avery Point, expressed how this was the first year she wasn’t able to bring her students to the gallery. Because there is not an art major on the campus, and that a majority of her students are marine science majors, the gallery was the one connection to the arts.
“[It’s] important to have that gallery there to open their eyes to the communication value…to be connected to a larger world instead of a smaller world on this campus,” Barcelo said.
While the Avery Point art gallery was the main discussion during the meeting, the board also approved well over $7 million dollars in budgets for deferred maintenance projects and other construction on the Storrs campus as well as at UConn Health and UConn School of Law. They also approved the annual report for the Aetna English Chair in Writing.