By Colter Hettich, Student Reporter
Abilenians will have a new stop to make downtown during the next Artwalk. On December 13 at 5:00 p.m., ACU will unveil its latest, 2,600 square foot expansion: the ACU-Cockerell Art Gallery.
A $3,000 grant from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council opened the doors for the new downtown gallery. The ACAC acts as the city’s art council, funding exhibits at the Grace Museum and the Center of Contemporary Art and generally promoting the arts in Abilene.
The new ACU-Cockerell Art Gallery, though free of charge, is currently available by appointment only, but Dr. Garlan Jenkens, professor and curator of the on-campus Shore Gallery, hopes it will soon be open to the public.
Jenkens, who personally pursues art, songwriting and poetry, has a vision.
“We want the gallery to be about much more than just ACU students’ art,” Jenkens said. “We want to involve the theatre, music and English departments by displaying other arts, such as creative movement, dance, music performance or poetry.”
Jenkens’ vision extends far beyond ACU’s campus and Texas’ borders.
The university plans to host a Big Country Collegiate Juried Art Exhibition, which can include students from the University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, University of Texas in Arlington and Southern Methodist University.
“We will also host a Shore National Biennial Exhibition, where students from anywhere in the country can enter their work,” Jenkens said.
Lynn Barnett, executive director of the ACAC, believes the gallery will have a significant impact on the Abilene community.
“It is a wonderful way to not only encourage additional activities for Abilene but also get ACU plugged into downtown,” Lynn said. “We were very pleased that ACU pursued this.”
The gallery will open with “Double Vision: Ladder Dream Series.” “Double Vision” is a collection of historical prints and digital compositions by ACU’s own Dr. Jack Maxwell, chair of the art department and his wife Jill.
Maxwell said the exhibit is a result of his continued interest in historical prints.
“Every one of our original pieces incorporates one of the older prints,” Maxwell said. “We used digital technology, just like they used the latest technology they had. I think seeing the two
[time periods] together provides great contrast.”
Ultimately, the art department hopes Abilene will see the quality of students and faculty at ACU and want to be a part of it.
“We want to link everything we do at the downtown gallery back to ACU,” Jenkens said. “We hope visitors will make the connection and want to see what we’re all about.”