Birke Art Gallery Relocates to Visual Arts Center


The Birke Art Gallery is being moved to a new location in the Visual Arts Center downtown.

Lucy Bell, Staff Reporter

The Birke Art Gallery has found a new home at the Visual Arts Center displaying art for all who visit downtown Huntington after hosting guests at its campus location for almost 50 years.

This past May, members of the School of Art and Design proposed bringing all three of Marshall University’s art galleries under one roof. After seven months of planning and remodeling, the Birke Art Gallery will reopen to the public in its new space on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

When the galleries were separated, it could sometimes take up to two weeks to cycle in more artwork after the previous show closed, leaving one or both galleries empty. According to Gallery Director Jamie Platt, the Birke’s relocation allows for a constant display of art.  

“I am most excited that people will be able to come in and be inundated with art to look at and that there will always be art to look at,” Platt said. “It is heartbreaking when we have to tell guests that there is nothing on view. It’s almost like saying, ‘Get out,’ and we don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome here.”

Combining the galleries creates many possibilities for future artists and show concepts, Platt said.

“One of the things that I hope we are able to do is create a giant show with multiple parts that utilize all of the galleries at once,” Platt said. “We can create simultaneous events where there are opening celebrations for all of the shows or two of the shows at the same time.” 

On its opening night, the new Birke Art Gallery will host its inaugural show, the Foundations Review Exhibition. These exhibitions feature a collection of works from the School of Art and Design students and serve as many students’ first look into exhibiting their work in professional settings.

“The Foundations Review Exhibition is always a big deal because, for many students, it’s the first time they have their work displayed in a gallery setting,” Platt said. “These shows are monumental for students because the work looks so different when it is in the hallway of the school than when it’s in a gallery space. It is a big step for these artists because this is going to be part of what they do in their professional careers.”