The Shows Go On! How the Department of Art Finds Ways to Exhibit Art During Social Distancing

November 16, 2020


2020 was a challenging year to art institutions around the world. The art museums and galleries that enjoy the presence of visitors in their spaces, asking questions, engaging with artwork, and participating in talks and tours, kept motivated by finding new ways to engage audeinces. The MSU art gallery spaces also have remained quiet, but there is still lots of activity and new exhibitions on display. Many of these exhibitions do not hang on the physical walls but are found online in digital galleries on the Department of Art website.

Since March, the Department of Art Galleries have hosted 10 exhibitions. Lori Neuenfeldt, Gallery Director, thinks it's important to continue to find ways to share student and visiting artists' work. "I remember, back during MSU's spring break in March, when I got the phone call from the head of the Department of Art, Critz Campbell. Professor Campbell was concerned that our exhibitions would have to be postponned or cancelled. I told him not to worry. We had already successfully found ways to post images of student artwork in online portfolios. By using a similar format we could come up with a way to keep the gallery exhibitions coming."

The 48th MSU Student Juried Exhibition, All the Things: Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition, and Escapade: Fine Art Thesis Exhibition all launched at the end of spring. Each were presented as online exhibitions. By August 2020, the art galleries were back to physical exhibitions with The Light That Persists: Mississippi Artists in 2020, Art Under Quarantine: Selections from Escapade, and the Department of Art Faculty Exhibition. All of these exhibitions were presented with companion online galleries. As Neuenfeldt notes, "This is our way to make exhibitions more accessible to those that may not be able visit the campus galleries, whether for health or transportation reasons. Now they can visit the website and see a variety of works, styles, and themes without leaving their home. And it's nice to know that families can see what their MSU students are making and celebrate their achievements, no matter how far away they live."

Three new online exhibitions just launched this month: [no]CONTACT F.20: BFA Senior Photography Thesis Exhibition, 2020 CAAD+CALS Exhibition, and In the Making: BFA Senior Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition. The Department of Art Galleries plan to keep producing online exhibitions. Already the number of online visitors to the websites show an increase in the audience numbers. Gallery Director Neuenfeldt is truly encouraged by the interest in the online exhibitions and knows the value of becoming more accessible. "Nothing replaces the experience of seeing a work of art in person, but connecting to others in this time is important. And if one of our online exhibitions educates, inspires, or brings art into someone's life then we are fullfilling our goal."

Visit the CAAD website to see all the current, upcoming, and past exhibitions:

Click here to view more Museum News.