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LETTER: Remembering the Anderson Gallery

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Thank you for publishing "Fly on the Wall," Edwin Slipek’s bittersweet account of the form and function of the Anderson Gallery. The piece triggered a flood of fond memories from my days as a graduate student in the School of the Arts department of photography through recent visits with my students and prompted me to reflect on the surprising vitality of that little chunk of a building.

While a student, I had an internship under the late artist Cindy Neuschwander who was then registrar. This experience showed me the world behind the white walls and provided an invaluable understanding of the diligence necessary to hang strong shows.

The physical space was simultaneously challenging and elegant. The stairs were pinched, there was no elevator and there were never enough lights, yet the rooms had a combination of spaciousness and intimacy where work ranging from that by international artists to first year undergraduates could shine. Mr. Slipek’s article highlighted this dichotomy of exceptional programming in the face of physical and institutional challenges and gave much deserved recognition to past and present staff for this impressive feat.

It was good to learn how the roles of the Anderson will be divided and shared by other entities, but I still found myself thinking that something ineffable but valuable is being lost. Hanging my MFA thesis exhibition came with an implicit stamp of approval as it was on walls that had recently held the work of world renowned artists. Where could that happen in the future? The library will care for the permanent collection but will it get as much attention or exhibition? The article made me realize how grateful I am to have experienced the Anderson Gallery before it was lost forever.

Georgianne Stinnett
Richmond

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