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Rall Art Gallery: New Director and New Future

Between exhibits and upcoming renovations, the new Rall Art Gallery Director Amanda Smith said she’s confident it’s going to be an exciting year.

Smith, who recently joined Doane as a visiting assistant professor of art, applied to become the new gallery director this year. She has fresh new ideas for the gallery, especially with its new location and construction.

“The new gallery is going to be really exciting.” Smith said. “It will be an updated contemporary neutral space, the current gallery is a little outdated…it’s difficult to show contemporary work there. The new space will change the types of exhibits we can host.”

After the renovations to Perkins Library (located inside the Communications Building), estimated to begin in January of 2014, the Rall Art Gallery will have a new home across from Heckman Auditorium in what is known now as the Help Desk area.

Smith said that space will be more appropriate for a gallery and will be designed with a more contemporary and practical feel. There will also be a glass wall looking through to the library.

Contacting more national and commercial artists is also a goal of Smith’s. She said she would like to not only bring their art on campus, but the artists themselves so they can interact with students and the community.

Smith is also eager to help students set up for their senior shows at the end of the school year. “Their shows in part are a way for them to practice being a professional exhibiting artist, “ Smith said.

She will help students learn the proper way to hand and frame their artwork, and meet deadlines. This will serve as a professional practice component that will be vital to their careers in art.

Smith taught painting classes at both Indiana University and Minnesota State University. She has also worked at the Tecoma Art Museum in Washington where she was a part of registration and taking care of collections. She served on gallery advisory boards and organized exhibitions at both universities. She wanted to “have a larger hand” in helping design programming for a gallery, which is what brought her to Doane.

“What I’m doing right now is planning stages for the program next year, “ Smith said. “I already have artists on board for painting and drawing shows. I am also interested in collaborating with other departments.”

She also plans to advertise up-and-coming exhibits to other art communities and schools.

“My intentions are to bring nationally exhibiting artists to Doane, so that our students can experience first-hand what is happening in the larger art world,” Smith said. “I am hoping that our new gallery can be a recruitment tool as well.”

The first exhibit of the year, which starts on September 4, is by Doane’s own Assistant Professor of Art Monique Janssen-Belitz and will feature many of her sketch pieces. Janssen-Belitz explains her art as “depicting historical events as etched into the skin of the land. Ancient Native American prayers become visible in space, while echoes of the past are embedded in present-day landscapes."

Rall Art Gallery Exhibit Schedule
September 4-30, "Tethered" works by Monique Janssen-Belitz
Closing reception Friday, September 27th, 4-5 p.m. in Rall Gallery
October 4-31, "Past and Present" works by Doane students and alumni
November - December, Doane Senior Thesis exhibitions (dates TBA)