I have been saying that SHU needs to expand its gallery — its tiny space is problematic for any curator attempting to mount a show. Shunted out of the way in a nondescript room with low drop-ceilings and awkward proportions, there was always the suggestion that university officials had little regard for the gallery’s objectives. When you look across town at Fairfield University, its stunning Walsh gallery at the Quick Center, and now its magnificent Bellarmine Museum, should rouse some kind of competitive instinct at SHU.
SHU doesn’t have the deep-pocket alumni that Fairfield U. taps. But its more recent architectural improvements were signs of campus pride, and I had reason to hope that the gallery would be expanded, and certainly not scuttled.
Sophia Gevas, the gallery director, has been there since the gallery’s beginnings in 1989, and she has brought in thoughtful, interesting shows that dignify the campus and reflect aesthetic and intellectual ideals suited to advanced learning. Even still, gallery receptions reliably featured beautiful, expansive pieces, pushing the refreshments table and any live musicians out into the hallway.
I don’t know what Shirley Jones and Debbie Reynolds have to do with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, but if SHU would rather put Hollywood icons on stage instead of progressive art, they should explain how that fits in with their mission.