“I am an artist, with the hands of a craftsman, the mind of an engineer, and the imagination of a dreamer.”  Frankie Flood 

I always enjoy university galleries. The newness of the art mixed with the iconic campus buildings always delight. At Winthrop University in Rock Hill, NC, campus galleries are housed in the Rutledge Building and adjoining McLaurin Hall. 

The experience reminded me of what a university can be. A place where your mind can grow. Where eclectic doctrines can be drawn from a universe of free thinking. Where that thinking can be a foundation for a well lived life.

The galleries highlight faculty and student art. Some have a serious bent such as “Selective Memory” by Kristen Stolle which examines the relationship between agribusiness and the bio chemical industry. However, you are quickly drawn to the other art and its placement in the galleries. 

The two buildings housing the art are mostly naturally lit. The age of the buildings, the copper dome, the window placement gives the gallery and art work unique lighting and color. Equally enchanting is the art work runs up and down hallways in every direction. In between the art work, you find a painting studio, a print making lab, a photo developing room and study areas for students. Some hallways are filled with the small offices of the professors. These are unique and an art work on their own.

On the day I visited, there were only a few students or faculty members roaming about. You, with a little envy, can observe the quiet cultured work environment of staff and faculty. How they have their own worlds in the small offices decorated with art. You wondered about the students too. Their stories of life not yet told. One group frantically worked on a new jewelry art exhibit.

Having been in the practical world so long, I paused to wonder about the fate of today’s art student. A few will become teachers, some will pursue an artistic craft such as graphic art and others will go into the world with only their art portfolio. 

I felt good, though, about their chances in life. We live in an ever changing and unsettled world. Who’s to say what training is best for it. The art graduate have their creativity and a different way of looking at things. Both great skills for today’s world.

David Young

A Visit to Winthrop Galleries