Birke Art Gallery Hosts its Final Show Before Moving to its New Home

Lucy Bell, Photographer and Student Reporter

After nearly 50 years of displaying artists’ collections on Marshall University’s main campus, the Birke Art Gallery moves to join the university’s two other galleries in the Visual Arts Center in downtown Huntington. 

Renovations are underway at the Visual Arts Center in preparation for the Birke Art Gallery’s grand reopening on Nov. 16. The inaugural show will take place on the same night and host student artists’ work. The students featured in this show have completed the foundation’s review process through the School of Art and Design and will display their best work from the semester. 

While it may seem bittersweet to close the doors on a space with such a deep history in its walls, this change is welcomed, according to Gallery Director Jamie Platt. 

“I am going to miss this,” Platt said. “This gallery has so much history, and it is also a presence of the School of Art and Design on the campus of Marshall University. However, I’m so excited about the good things that it will bring that I feel like we can close this chapter and feel good about what it was and what it is going to be.”

The current exhibition for viewing in the Birke Art Gallery is likely to be the final show presented in that space. The exhibition “Senses” features the work of photographer Christiana Caro and sculptor Kimberly Lyle. While neither artist knew the other beforehand, there was a coincidental nexus between the two works.

The Birke Art Gallery will join the Charles W. and Norma C. Carroll Gallery and the Student Gallery on the downtown campus. Consolidating the three galleries allows for a more cohesive experience for guests as well as the administration. 

“We have the potential to have art on view every single day,” Platt said. “When I’m traveling between the two galleries, if something happens in one gallery, but I’m in the other one, I can’t be there right away. And if someone comes in and they have a question, then they have to wait for me. So, it’s just going to be very simple for me to be able to oversee all the galleries in one place.”