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“Third Space” opens up for student artists

First on-campus exhibition venue dedicated solely to displaying School of Art student work

Third Space - panoramic photo

For more than 30 years, the Blaffer Art Museum has hosted two annual exhibitions dedicated to the art created by School of Art students: The Masters Thesis Exhibition and The Annual School of Art Student Exhibition.

While those two exhibitions continue to be essential showcases for the University of Houston’s accomplished art students, the School of Art has needed more exhibition opportunities for its diverse undergraduate and graduate programs.

Enter Third Space – the first exhibition venue on campus dedicated solely to displaying visual art produced by School of Art students.

“Artists make art to be seen,” said Dr. Rex Koontz, director of the School of Art. “Emerging UH artists now have a space in which to be seen - Third Space.”

The name for the venue comes from its location on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building in combination with the open term “space,” which suggests flexibility beyond that of a traditional gallery.

“It will be a place of innovation, discovery, and reflection for our students, who will be able to test their ideas in a public forum for the first time,” Dr. Koontz said.

The renovations necessary to convert the third floor room into the creative space it is now were generously funded by the Houston Endowment.

The exhibition area opened on September 5th with a one-day exhibition of third-year graduate students’ work titled Resolution, referring to their final year of study in which they will resolve their thesis projects.

Caroline Sharpless, whose M.F.A studies are concentrated on painting, had a painting on display in the Resolution exhibition.

“It felt great to be in the show,” she said. “I had many positive responses to my painting from people that hadn't seen my work. It is so close to our studios and seems like a perfect space to show what we are doing.”

Faculty members are currently planning a lengthier exhibition for Third Space scheduled to open in early November.

The upcoming exhibition is titled Written Wor(l)ds and will feature collaborative work by students from the School of Art and the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English.

The exhibition stems from the collaborative Interdisciplinary Art (IART) course funded by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and taught by Cheryl Becket, associate professor of graphic communications, and Peter Turchi, professor of creative writing.

A School of Art faculty advisory committee will select future exhibitions.

- by Monica Byars