Monday, June 7, 2010

College’s off-campus gallery celebrates anniversary in a new home

June 4, 2010

On Thursday, June 3, nearly 500 people joined the Metropolitan State College of Denver Center for Visual Art (CVA) as it celebrated two milestones: its 20th Anniversary and its new, permanent home at 965 Santa Fe Dr. in the Art District on Santa Fe.

“It's really hard to believe it was a furniture gallery last fall,” said CVA Director and Curator Jennifer Garner, who thanked Metro State President Stephen Jordan “for the most amazing 20th birthday present the CVA could ask for.”

The evening was a culmination of efforts and well wishes, according to Jordan, who noted a number of supporters including the state legislature, Denver City Council, the Metro State Foundation, the Art District on Santa Fe and the Boettcher Foundation, which provided a lead grant of $425,000 to inspire other gifts and donations to the award-winning gallery.

Julie T. Lerudis, director of the grants program for the Boettcher Foundation (on behalf of Tim Schultz, president and executive director), said the new location “resonated with the trustees. We are pleased to be a part of funding for CVA.”

“I’m very excited about it,” said Tony Garcia, executive director of Su Teatro and an affiliate professor of Chicana/o Studies at Metro State. “I think this is a great addition to the arts district. It helps raise the bar in terms of diverse programming.”

The CVA’s new space offers greater opportunities for Metro State to connect with the Latino community – important to the College’s goal of attaining the federal designation of Hispanic Serving Institution.

Denver City Councilwoman (District 9) Judy Montero said because the art district is “very culturally rich and diverse, there are so many things creative people can learn about this district.” In addition, she named area schools, including West High School, that could benefit from the CVA’s presence in the neighborhood.

A division of Metro State’s Art Department, the Center for Visual Art contributes to the College’s status as the only public higher education art program in Colorado to maintain accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. This status, according to Garner, who is also an assistant art professor, will positively impact the gallery’s programming in the neighborhood. She promised “to offer the community the same caliber of program we offer our students.”

“A few years ago, I kept saying imagine the possibilities. We really have so much to look forward to,” she said.

The process from beginning to end has been great, according to Chair and Professor of Art Greg Watts. “I’m grateful that so many people at Metro State believe in the value of art.”

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