HSU Third Street Gallery closing?

The message from the Third Street Gallery’s director Jack Bentley was an announcement of his pending retirement — not a complete surprise — but it went on to inform all of us that HSU is planning the concurrent closure of the gallery, a shock to many — even to Jack. His letter is a call to arms for those who would like to save this important cultural resource. I’ll let Jack take from there…

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Dear Friends,

On next July 30th, after 20 years of managing the programs at the HSU Third Street Gallery, formerly the HSU First Street Gallery, I will leave my employment at Humboldt State University. During my time at the gallery, I have been privileged to participate in a multifaceted and creative collaboration with a wide range of community members, students, faculty, university staff and administration, as well as with all of the wonderful student, regional and visiting artists whose work we have been so lucky to exhibit. I’m very grateful to all of these people who worked with us to help establish community and student accessibility to a wide range of art forms and types of expression. Thank you to all of you for helping us to cement the reputation and the professional standing of the gallery!

When the gallery was founded in 1998, it was established as a community outreach program with the mission to provide a fine arts venue and an exhibition program, readily accessible to our North Coast community, while simultaneously providing a hands-on site for HSU students to learn and implement museum and gallery practices. The gallery was established as an independent department within the university, with its own budget.

 

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[Jack showed me the Third Street Gallery when it was under construction a little more than a year ago.]

Currently, with its location in Eureka and with over 26,000 visitors annually, Third Street Gallery is by far HSU’s most visited, most popular fine arts gallery. In readers’ polls published by the North Coast Journal, HSU Third Street Gallery was selected as the North Coast’s Best Art Gallery in 2011 and 2016. Thanks to the work of our students and to the support of our community and university colleagues, the gallery has garnered a reputation that stretches way beyond our region and draws visitors and artists from far and wide.

When I formally notified the university administration of my plan to leave the university, I made a series of recommendations to ensure the gallery’s smooth transition to successor management in order to continue the gallery’s service to students and to the community.

Not long after notifying my supervisor of my intention to leave, I learned that a proposal to shut down HSU Third Street Gallery had been submitted to the (HSU) President’s Cabinet and had been subsequently passed along to HSU’s University Resources Planning Committee (URPC) for further study.

Couched in the language of budget reductions, the proposal is a thinly disguised resource grab by another university department in which the gallery would be shut down and its budget and assets would be absorbed by other on-campus programs.

In this proposed scenario Third Street Gallery, in its Eureka location, would be shuttered in 2019, its budget would be slashed by a one-third and the remaining two-thirds of its budget would be directed to on-campus exhibition programs. Effectively turning its back on making exhibitions accessible to the broader North Coast community, the proposal calls for the remaining two thirds of Third Street’s former budget to pay for an ill-defined, untested future program in the university’s two galleries located on campus, the Reese Bullen Gallery and the Goudi’ ni Gallery, both of which have very low accessibility and visitation rates. In other words, the proposal would shut down a successful cultural outreach program on the gamble that they could do a better job on campus. This idea is the opposite of creative—it’s destructive.

 

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[This was the gallery, again under construction last year, this time showing the fine new floor being added the building. The university made a considerable investment preparing the new space. What were they thinking? Are they thinking at all?]

To date, the committee that is charged with studying this proposal has made no effort to contact me or to consult with stakeholders in the gallery, or with the community, and that is probably by design. The less feedback that they receive, the easier it will be to shut Third Street Gallery down.

And this is why I’m writing to you. You are the stakeholders whose voices need to be heard. Shutting down Third Street Gallery is not a foregone conclusion. This is still a proposal. However, its outcome is dependent on the input and opinions shared with the committee and decision makers. You can help keep the gallery open by making your opinion known and taking a stand as a stakeholder in the gallery.

If you want to help, this is what you can do: You can write an email letter of support for the continuation of the gallery and its programs. You can write any type of email:

A simple short note that addresses your general support of the gallery.

Or you can be more elaborate, touching on some important subjects to address:

• CULTURAL OUTREACH BEYOND THE HSU CAMPUS
• ACCESSIBILITY TO THE NORTH COAST COMMUNITY
• RESOURCE AND SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS, ALUMNI AND COMMUNITY ARTISTS
• DIVERSITY OF EXHIBITIONS
• REPRESENTATION OF COMMUNITY ARTISTS
• VISITING ARTISTS FROM OUTSIDE OUR REGION-Accessible to the North Coast
• ECONOMIC STIMULATION TO OUR REGION
• STUDENT RECRUITMENT AND PUBLIC RELATIONS RESOURCE
• LEADERSHIP OF HSU IN THE ARTS
• ANNUAL EXHIBITIONS DEALING WITH THE SUBJECTS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ENVIRONMENTALISM
• GENERAL COMMUNITY AND ALUMNI SUPPORT FOR THE UNIVERSITY

The best strategy in this type of letter writing is to copy your email to everybody of concern. That way nobody can deny your contribution to the discussion.

Please address you letters to the two Co-Chairs of the HSU University Resource Planning Committee:

Mark Rizzardi, Professor of Mathematics, Co-Chair, URPC and Alex Enyedi, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Co-Chair, URPC.

Please use the long email string of addresses below to assure that all of the parties involved in this issue will be apprised of your sentiments.
Email to:

To my friends and acquaintances, I’m leaving the university voluntarily, because it’s time to make a change in my career and my life. So please focus your comments on the gallery rather than on me. This is still in the proposal stage to close the gallery by 2019. Your timely comments can determine the future.

Please feel free to share this email with anyone who you think could help.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Jack Bentley

Director, HSU Third Street Gallery

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Ending note from Bob: Jack gathers found photos and shows them to his friends. This one seemed appropriate to me. The whole thing doesn’t make sense and shows that the driver messed up leaving a problem that will be difficult to undo. Let’s see if HSU can change direction before making this decision.

13 comments

  1. The HSU Third St Gallery is an important resource to the community and to the university! It is always packed with viewers during Eureka’s Arts Alive. It has given us remarkable exhibits over the years, featuring work by local and out of area artists.
    We must not allow this poorly considered proposal to succeed.

  2. Here is a corrected list of HSU administrators with whom you can share your opinions about this proposed gallery closure:

    mark.rizzardi@humboldt.edu,Alexander.Enyedi@humboldt.edu,erick.eschker@humboldt.edu,
    hs807@humboldt.edu,james.woglom@humboldt.edu,kacie.flynn@humboldt.edu,
    sarah.bacio@humboldt.edu,Douglas.Dawes@humboldt.edu,wayne.brumfield@humboldt.edu,
    craig.wruck@humboldt.edu,Cyril.Oberlander@humboldt.edu,joey.mularky@humboldt.edu,
    jab9@humboldt.edu,Lisa.Rossbacher@humboldt.edu,lar400@humboldt.edu,
    Lisa.Bond-Maupin@humboldt.edu,Rosamel.Benavides-Garb@humboldt.edu,
    heather.madar@humboldt.edu,julia.alderson@humboldt.edu,colleen.mullery@humboldt.edu,
    kris.patzlaff@humboldt.edu,amber.blakeslee@humboldt.edu,Cheryl.L.Johnson@humboldt.edu,jtm417@humboldt.edu

  3. Letter From Angie Allen to HSU Administration

    I urgently ask you all to keep Third Street Gallery (TSG) open and supported by the university. It deeply concerns me that this venue, which gives a platform to HSU students to learn hands on gallery and museum practices with traveling artists, is planned to be dissolved and fiscally adsorbed.

    TSG offers a myriad of opportunities that on-campus galleries inherently cannot offer. Because TSG is a town away from HSU, prominent artists are interested in showing their work there. As a student, I was fortunate to meet Anna Teresa Fernandez and assist in the installation of her work at TSG. If TSG was on HSU campus, it is highly unlikely that she would have accepted Jack’s proposal to show her work because she is too elite of an artist for such exhibition spaces. Showing her work at TSG led to more important events than merely hanging her work: she came up to Arcata and Eureka for artist talks AND did studio visits with Honors Painting students.

    You see? TSG is NOT just an exhibition space; it fosters community development and pulls prominent artists from all over the country to our remote town of Eurkea and Arcata.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and take my concerns into account,

    Angie Allen (2016 graduate)

  4. Dear Co-Chairs of the HSU University Resource Planning Committee,

    I am writing to you and all concerned, to express my dismay that you are considering closing the HSU Third Street Gallery in Eureka. I hope that you will reconsider.

    I have been a teacher of the arts at HSU and many other schools along the West Coast, an exhibiting artist at the (formerly) First Street Gallery, have donated $ to the Gallery, supported students, staff, and the larger community off and on campus, formed a scholarship fund to promote cultural study for HSU students, and believe that the Third Street Gallery is one of the top, if not the best, venues to view contemporary visual arts in far northern California – a valuable cultural asset.

    In our rural community, the Third Street Gallery provides access to art, art education and critical dialogue unlike anywhere else in the region, with the gallery open to those who do not usually visit the HSU main campus. Gallery programming promotes diversity, connecting artists from within and beyond the region, with HSU students and the larger community, introducing new ideas, themes, and cultural dialogue and relationships. HSU’s other galleries are far less accessible.

    Third Street Gallery places HSU front and center, as a leader in the arts and culture of the region, with annual public exhibitions that address social justice and environmental issues. Eureka’s ‘Arts Alive’ draws large crowds every month, stimulating the local economy – with the Third Street Gallery currently located at the heart of this vibrant arts neighborhood. It is a forum for student recruitment, a public relations resource, and a hands-on classroom for HSU Museum and Gallery Studies students to develop skills applicable to career goals.

    As both a former HSU and a CR art instructor, I’ve brought many groups of diverse students who are involved in many kinds of study and from varied backgrounds, often for the very first time, in to the Gallery. It is a unique place to engage students in interdisciplinary dialogue and develop critical thinking skills, linking the arts and cultural worlds with many other areas of study and research.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read my letter.

    Sincerely,

    Julie McNiel, MFA,
    Lead Artist, PBSP,
    William James Association,
    Arts in Corrections Program.

  5. Although Humboldt County is known for its many art galleries, this does not mean that there are many high quality galleries dedicated to trained artists. This is an important distinction. In fact, I would say there are only a few galleries that consistently display thought provoking, interesting, skilled work. That is not to say the other galleries do not contribute to a thriving arts community I am proud to be a part of, but galleries like the Third Street Gallery are important and rare.

    I have been an art teacher at Arcata High School and the Arcata Arts Institute for 20 years and am constantly encouraging and sometimes requiring my students to attend Arts Alive! The Third Street Gallery is an important stop during their gallery walk. Not only is the art excellent there, but it shows these local art students what is happening in the HSU art department – by students and faculty. I can think of no better recruitment tool.

    I do occasionally take my students to HSU to the Reese Bullen Gallery and the Goudi’ ni Gallery, but they much prefer to go to the vibrant, energetic celebration of art and music that is Arts Alive! It shows that the HSU art department is part of this exciting community. And there are plenty of art students who are not in easy walking distance to the campus, who’s only contact with the HSU art department is through the Third Street Gallery.

    It is vital that HSU art students get experience showing their work to a larger, more diverse audience as well as experience running and curating a community gallery. It would be a huge loss to the art department at HSU, as well as the larger arts community. At a time when Eureka was just declared a state cultural district, it makes sense to stay part of this exciting momentum moving forward. Please do not close the Third Street Gallery.

    Sincerely,

    Johanna Mauro
    Art Teacher, Arcata High School, Arcata Arts Insitute

  6. Letter from Pat Bitton to HSU Administrators

    I understand the University is considering the closure of the Third Street Gallery. Since Eureka has recently been designated an Arts District by the California Arts Commission, this would seem to be a rather short-sighted move, particularly since the gallery is already the most-visited fine arts venue in Humboldt County. Such a move would also deprive the students of essential curating and gallery management experience they’ll need in their future careers. The on-campus galleries are not within the arts district, nor are they an integral part of the wider arts community in Humboldt County – in short, no-one goes to them.

    I know I have benefited personally from having this gallery in our community – discovering new artists, revisiting familiar ones, and adding to my collection at home. Please consider the important role the arts play in our community and in this increasingly disturbing world we all find ourselves in today.

  7. Letter from Marilyn Andrews to HSU Administration

    At the turn of the year, I received a disturbing email from Jack Bentley, who is retiring as the Third Street Gallery director after a long and fruitful run. Jack wrote that HSU plans to shut down the Third Street Gallery. What a tragic mistake this would be were it to come to pass!

    The Third Street Gallery is open and accessible to the entire Humboldt community. I have many times attended receptions on Arts Alive at the First Street Gallery, and now the Third Street Gallery. Hundreds of art lovers show up at these events, and many of them are community members who are not necessarily associated with HSU. It is easy to park, and enter the galleries off the sidewalk. As such, HSU’s Eureka galleries provided a vital bridge to the general community.

    The galleries on the HSU campus, which provide excellent exhibition space, do not provide any kind of bridge to the community. They are elite little enclaves that mostly allow students and faculty to share their work with other students and faculty. Most community members don’t ever see these exhibits. Many don’t even know they exist. Few want to deal with the complexities of access and parking.

    More than once I have witnessed wonderful programs that have been created and nurtured for years by professors with imagination and perseverance fall to the chopping block when the professors retire. Greedy managers of programs with other interests gobble up their funds in a heartless and senseless redistribution of resources. Successful programs are hard to create, but once created, they should be allowed to endure.

    The Third Street Gallery is a wonderful program that Jack Bentley created and nourished for nearly 20 years, and now it is in full bloom. Why not hire a new gallery director, and continue the only gallery which serves both HSU and the Humboldt community? I do hope those of you who are involved in the decision to close the Third Street Gallery will reconsider. By shutting down the Third Street Gallery, HSU would be perpetuating its image as its own little world that is not a part of the larger community.

  8. Letter from Rita Pender Arena to HSU Administrators

    Dear Alex Enyedi, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Co-Chair, URPC,

    It has come to my attention Humboldt State University’s Third Street Gallery in Eureka California is currently being considered for closure in 2019. It could be said that to follow through on this closure proposal would be short-sighted and counterproductive for Humboldt State University, the academic offerings of HSU Art Department’s Certificate in Art Museum & Practices program and for the greater Humboldt County community’s concerns.

    As an alumni of Humboldt State University, graduating with a BA in Art in 1979 and a 42 year resident of Humboldt County, please allow me to offer the following for your consideration.

    1
    It could be said on a practical level and simply put, dollar for dollar, the Third Street Gallery is a 24/7 three-dimensional-side-walk advertisement for Humboldt State University. It pays back one hundred fold. How? Third Street Gallery is centrally located in Eureka’s Old Town. It is within easy access to Highway ‘101’ for the over one million visitors to the North Coast. According to the 17 July 2016 post by Kim Kemp for the Redheaded Blackbelt online news site, “Redwood National Park alone recorded 527,143 visitors in 2015, up 98,000 from 2014. The total recorded annual combined visitation to all four parks within the Redwood National and State Parks partnership in 2015 is 1,425,203 people.”

    Besides enjoying Humboldt County’s abundant natural beauty these million-plus national and international visitors also get off the beaten path and appreciate participating in the abundant art, music, theatrical and cultural venues and opportunities available throughout our region.

    Among these visitors are families of the prospective students considering enrollment at Humboldt State University, as well as individual-benefactors interested in providing monetary support of the University’s many innovative programs, such as this specific Eureka gallery. These potential and actual sources of economic input reach beyond the boundaries of HSU’s campus and concerns. They contribute in subtle and significant ways throughout the surrounding communities…adding to the quality of life for small and large business employers, employees and families…along with schools, hospitals and other social networks.

    Appreciation for our unique region is real and evident in the very current 2 January 2018 post by Kimberley Wear of the North Coast Journal online site:

    “Here’s some good news for Eureka: While not No. 1, the city has taken the second slot on Sunset Magazine’s list of “20 Game Changing Places to Live” that is coming out in the February edition.

    The vignette accompanying the entry goes as follows: “This small seaport spent a decade restoring its waterfront with a newly completed 6-mile pedestrian trail. Adding to the charm are grand 19th-century homes, proximity to redwoods, and more artists per capita than anywhere else in the state.”

    2
    It could be said HSU’s Art Department’s offers students a wonderful opportunity in a rare blend of academic and practical hands-on work experience with it’s Certificate in Art Museum & Gallery Practices program. Please allow me to remind you of it’s description under the HSU Art Department’s available programs:

    “The Certificate in Art Museum & Gallery Practices provides HSU students with the experience they need to successfully begin careers in art museums and commercial galleries around the nation.

    … The core of the Museum and Gallery Practices program involves the production of exhibits … display, preservation and storage of our permanent art collection. Students practice curatorship, registration, art preparation, exhibition design, and installation, with our galleries as the classroom. … students intern with an off campus gallery or … at any other museum or gallery that sponsors an internship program. In the process, students gain a deeper familiarity with the techniques, ethics and practices of gallery and museum institutions.

    Many of our graduates have gone on to careers in museum and gallery work, or to graduate study. They have found employment at museums such as the Portland Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Contemporary Art Center-New Orleans, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.”

    3
    It could be said the above mentioned substantial Humboldt artist community benefits from Third Street Gallery’s (inter)nationally recognized professional venue, that allows exhibition of their works. Equally, these artists as the greater Humboldt County community benefits from viewing one-on-one exhibitions of emerging and established artists from around the region, United States and world.

    Third Street Gallery’s unique enrichment opportunities are sound examples of practical, economic and educational benefits. Equally, they are sound examples of aesthetic, cultural and inspirational benefits. Short and long term, the Third Street Gallery and HSU Art Department’s Certificate in Art Museum & Gallery Practices program provide vital intellectual and creative resources for our youth, adolescents, professional or working class, and retired neighbors. These are gifts that expand the quality of countless lives in real yet intangible ways. These are gifts that dreams are made of.

    With appreciation for your time and consideration of this matter.
    Every good intention.

    Rita Pender Arena

  9. Letter from Ellen Land-Weber, Emerita Professor to HSU Administration

    Dear Humboldt Academic Community,

    It has come to my attention that HSU’s valued Third Street Gallery is under consideration for closure.

    What a shame and mark of disrespect that would be for the art communities of HSU, Humboldt County and beyond.

    As a thirty plus year veteran of the HSU Art Department I have witnessed the long hard slog it took to create this gallery, its valuable student program, and its subsequent glorious success. It is widely viewed as the premier exhibition space in the local community, and is nationally respected for the quality of its shows, all of which garner good will and recognition for HSU.

    As with the disappeared Nursing Program, loss of the Third Street Gallery would be a serious diminishment of HSU”s reputation, from recruiting prospective students, to the quality of the Art Major curriculum, and regard in the local community that supports it with charitable donations.

    It would be a serious loss all around.

    Respectfully yours,

    Ellen Land-Weber, Emerita Professor

  10. A letter from Diana Lynn to the HSU Administration

    This letter is in support of the continuation of Third Street Gallery.
    You already know all the arguments, so I won’t fall into redundancy.

    But here’s my single point in writing to you: The gallery is presently the
    broadest connection the university has with the local general public outside
    of KHSU and sports, and it is the single best connection with influential
    local off-campus leadership. Please ask yourselves why anyone associated with HSU would wish to severe this vital town and gown relationship. You cannot retreat into an ivory tower and then lament when you don’t receive local support.

    Also, the public will NOT simply move over to exhibitions on campus since they will not choose to deal with parking and location. Van Duzer performances cannot be equated with on-campus art exhibitions – ‘Art’s Alive’ is what draws the crowds.

    I’ve lived here over fifty years, and earned the second MA in art offered back
    then, and understand how art reaches people who otherwise have zero interest in HSU and its survival. The gallery is a lifeline to our community. Please do not become insular in thinking the gallery has little relevance worth
    supporting.

    Sincerely,
    Diana Lynn

  11. Jack Bentley forwards this letter from Meheen Ruby Hauge

    As an alumnus of Humboldt State University, the continuation of Third Street Gallery is imperative to the continued growth of my career.

    I can not understate this fact.

    I graduated with the centennial class of 2014 with my B.A. in Studio Art with a Certificate in Museum and Gallery Practices. During my time at HSU, I was greatly influenced by the work I saw and the artists I was able to work with during my time in attendance of the program. I interned at the former First Street Gallery, and the video & graphic design projects I helped to produce as part of that program have become staple portfolio pieces that have gotten me jobs.

    I have food on my table and a steady income because the work I produced during my internship was of such a high caliber, I am still able to use it in applications. Currently I work as a mentor for Youth Arts Collective, which is an arts education studio/gallery space, and I also work for Bernard Trainor & Associates, maintaining a catalog of artwork and the website, and providing graphic design support. Not many arts graduates can say that they are gainfully employed in the arts only a few years out of school, without a Master’s degree, but that is a testament to the quality of my education and the experience gained at my internship.

    Beyond what I experienced as a student, I was also greatly influenced by the work that I saw displayed as part of the rotated exhibitions. It has been a career goal of mine to show at Third Street Gallery – many alumni do, and it is truly a world-class gallery that matches what you could find in San Francisco, Carmel, Los Angeles, or New York.

    Recently I was awarded my first artist grant, and the body of work that I am developing because of the funding, I was planning on submitting as a show to Third Street Gallery. If the gallery is closed by 2019 I lose this important step in establishing my career. There is no replacement in my mind for the exposure and career boost I would lose by not having this exhibition opportunity.

    I have great respect for the on-campus galleries, particularly the Goudi’ni & Reese Bullen galleries, however it is not an accessible space for the larger North Coast community or public to interact with the art. Tourists often walk through Old Town Eureka and there is just no comparing an on-campus space to the class, professionalism, and remarkable quality of the off-campus space.

    It deeply saddens me that this program could close. If this is to happen, rest assured that in protest I will never financially contribute to Humboldt State University, scholarship funds, or attend alumni events.

    I work in a youth arts after-school program with 65 current students in which 95% of students attend college, the majority of them majoring in the arts. I will have serious reservations about recommending Humboldt State to my students if this program is dissolved, despite my love for the rest of the art program and my positive experience there.

    Jack Bentley has laid the foundation of an institution that should be the absolute pride of Humboldt State. It is beyond appalling to me that such a highly regarded part of the community is being considered for closure, when the strong foundation of the program is such that it could continue in perpetuity with new leadership. If you are interested I could name a few skilled and dedicated alumni that would do the program justice.

    The closure of this space will have direct consequences for my career. The closure of this space will have direct consequences to the detriment of Eureka. The closure of this space will have direct consequences for the quality of education that current and future students are able to receive at Humboldt State. The closure of this space will make it difficult for me to recommend the art program to the many prospective students I work with.

    I do hope that you will reconsider.

    Thank you for your time.

    With absolute sincerity,

    Meheen Ruby Hauge

    Class of 2014

    B.A. Studio Art, Certificate in Museum & Gallery Practices

  12. A letter from Gabrielle Gopinath to The HSU Administration

    Re: proposed closure of Third Street Gallery

    As an art historian and critic who writes about the arts in Humboldt County, teaches art history at College of the Redwoods, and has taught art history at Humboldt State University in the past, I am writing in support of Humboldt State University’s Third Street Gallery to urge that the gallery be preserved from its planned closure.

    Third Street Gallery is among the university’s flagship cultural venues, a important point of contact between HSU and the surrounding community. Under departing curator Jack Bentley’s able leadership, annual visitors have topped 26,000, making the gallery in Old Town Eureka one of the university’s most popular institutions. Its closure would not only diminish the prestige and visibility of the HSU art program and the HSU art degree; it would also represent a body blow to the arts community.

    Third Street Gallery has developed a vital exhibition program under the directorship of an active, independent curator. Many of HSU’s most talented art students who are now working as professionals in the field began their careers by showing there. Distinguished alumni and artists with HSU connections have exhibited there in mid-career. Some have held retrospective exhibitions that have showcased artworks made across lifetimes of creative achievement. If the gallery is shuttered as planned, its absence will leave a void. This will be particularly damaging in the remote and semi-rural, yet artist-intensive county where we live — a place where first class cultural spaces, being few and far between, are cherished.

    Closing the school’s only professionally active, off-campus exhibition venue for the visual arts would have multiple associated negative outcomes. It would deprive HSU art students and alumni of a valuable professional resource.

    It would cut out the core of professional experience that presently constitutes the curriculum for students enrolled in the Museum and Gallery Studies Certificate Program.

    It would hinder recruitment, making it harder for the art department to attract talented applicants who are professionally committed and serious at an early stage in their careers.

    It would eliminate HSU students’ opportunities to work as curatorial assistants, gallerists, installation managers, and art handlers in a genuinely pre-professional context.

    It would deprive members of the public of a cultural space in which we take justified pride.

    The idea that the exhibition spaces on the HSU campus (the Reese Bullen Gallery and the Gou’dini Gallery) are likely to take up slack in Third Street’s absence is is not credible, for several reasons. These spaces have no mission of public service. They have no dedicated parking, and they offer only limited access to the general public. Neither has a full-time curator or maintains an active website. These gallery spaces remain important for HSU art students. But assessment of their programming and attendance statistics will point out the degree to which their mission has been, and should continue to be, different from that of Third Street Gallery.

    Closing the gallery would represent a rejection of the university’s mission of community outreach, a diminishment of institutional ambition and a retraction of scope. For this region, these are losses that far outweigh whatever benefits may be derived from reaping a windfall in short-term savings or shifting budget dollars from one university department to the next.

    I urge you to reject the proposed closure and continue to support our arts community–by funding Third Street Gallery, by preserving the gallery’s independence, and by hiring a curator with vision who will ensure that Third Street continues to serve the university and community at its present level of excellence.

    Sincerely,
    Gabrielle Gopinath

  13. A letter from Theresa Oats and Jim McVicker to HSU Administration.

    Dear Mark Rizzardi, Alex Enyedi, and the University Resource Planning Committee,

    I am writing to express our concern and support for the continued operation of Third Street Gallery and it’s programs. It has been brought to my attention that that a proposal has been made to close down the gallery after 2018.

    I am a painter that has lived in and exhibited my work in Humboldt County since 1977. I have had the good fortune to be part of several exhibitions at Third Street, formerly First Street Gallery, over the 19 or so years the gallery has existed. One of those shows was just this past April – May with my wife Theresa Oats. Of all the years I have exhibited and venues I have worked with, none top the amazing professionalism and quality of exhibit space offered by Thirds Street Gallery, and those students I have worked with over the years. I have also had many sales of my work which I attribute, to not just the work, but the quality experience the public and patrons have at Third Street Gallery. Those sales don’t just support the artist, but HSU as well.

    The gallery is a gem in downtown Eureka that benefits the public, the students working through the program, artists, and Humboldt State University. It would be a huge loss to our community if it was to close.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my email.

    Sincerely,
    Jim McVicker and Theresa Oats

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