ASCC Funds Archer Gallery After Prolonged Discussion

The walls of Archer Gallery proudly display the work of faculty and staff. The work ranges from sculpture to painting and mixed media, and a large piece featuring bright blue fluorescent lighting shines in the corner.

Senseney Stokes, a photography and art professor, director of Archer Gallery and Clark Art Talks, created and displayed the piece as part of the ongoing faculty biennial, an art show put on by faculty every two years. The pieces will be on display until Oct. 24, with a closing reception Oct. 20, from 4-6 p.m.

Displaying this work is not an easy feat and it’s made even more difficult because Stokes hangs and displays all of the work herself.

“I’m the only person that runs the gallery. I select artists, put together shows, hang and light the shows,” Stokes said. “I do everything.”

In addition to putting the gallery, located on the lower level of PUB, together, Stokes also manages the budget and all paperwork. Last year, Stokes was in the hospital and missed the program funding deadline, forcing her to seek one-time funding from ASCC Oct. 8.

This created a problem for Stokes, who said ASCC was reluctant to approve the funding request. Eventually the request for $22,000 was approved after two meetings.

Omar Alvarez, the ASCC finance director, said ASCC was initially focused on the gallery displaying student artwork because students are the ones who fund it. By the second meeting, they had reconsidered.

“It took us a while [to decide to fund Archer Gallery],” Alvarez said. “But we did decide that it does serve a larger purpose. It allows students to view art from professionals.”

Archer Gallery hosts an annual art show open to art students, but Stokes said that displaying student artwork is not the gallery’s primary role. Instead, she said the gallery brings cultural resources onto campus, which provide tremendous value for students.

In addition to art from local professionals, Archer Gallery brings in artwork from across the country and around the world, previously including a contemporary African photography display and pieces from a London-based artist.

“There are so many opportunities for students to show their work: in the Phoenix, in the art building, the Clark art club, and the Clark photography club,” Stokes said. “What we do here is something different. We work really hard because we believe in the service that [the gallery] provides.”

Stokes said ASCC had difficulty moving past the idea of not displaying more student artwork, but she was pleasantly surprised by the committee’s openness following the budget meeting.

“We’re glad we tabled [the meeting] so we could gather more information,” Alvarez said. “That was the reason for the open-mindedness.”

Sarah Gruhler, director of Student Life, said the committee was just asking a lot of questions during the first meeting.

“They felt like they didn’t have enough information to make a decision on Archer Gallery,” Gruhler said. “They’re taking this role very seriously. They want to be sure that they are advocating funds in a way that will benefit Clark students.”

Gruhler also said it’s good to have flexibility in the budget with one-time funding “just in case things come up.”

The gallery would have continued to run regardless of funding, but Stokes said it would have been significantly more difficult. During the winter, she will present for the program funding of Archer Gallery for the 2016- 17 school year.

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