Visual Arts Center to Celebrate Grand Opening Sept. 24-26

A celebration weekend in September will highlight the grand opening of the new Visual Arts Center at The University of Texas at Austin, a vibrant new collaboration and exhibition space created by the College of Fine Arts' Department of Art and Art History near the corner of 23rd Street and Trinity Street.

The Visual Arts Center, covering 25,061 square feet, is a unique solution to the department's long unmet need for exhibition, education and research space. It is a place where emerging artists, faculty, students and creative voices from around the world can gather to create, explore and evolve contemporary art.

Designed by renowned San Antonio architects Lake | Flato, the Visual Arts Center features premier, state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, exciting programming and a new, more welcoming entrance to the department through the Kayem Arbor.

The celebration weekend will feature art, performances, discussions, tours, talks, festivities and libations as the Visual Arts Center premieres its inaugural exhibitions from a variety of emerging and international artists, faculty, alumni, students and collections from the department in multiple galleries, lobby areas and halls. Tickets to the Visual Arts Center's Grand Opening Celebration Dinner on Sept. 24 cost $150 per person and include admission to the Opening Party afterward. Tickets to the center's Opening Party cost $30 and will also be sold at the door. More information about the Visual Arts Center opening is available online.

Programs at the Visual Arts Center on Sept. 26 from noon to 8 p.m. are free and open to the public. These include Center Space Project student docent-led tours and a Sumi Ink Club meeting hosted by Lucky Dragons, a Los Angeles-based experimental artist collective and music group made up of Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Anderson. Other programs include a conversation in the East Gallery with Dr. Andrea Giunta and artist Magali Lara, a tour with Vaulted Gallery artist Ry Rocklen, Lucky Dragons performance and a FADE IN video program, curated by Lucky Dragons.

In the 2,530-square-foot Vaulted Gallery, Los Angeles-based artist Rocklen will create a site-specific installation entitled ZZZ's, marrying traditional and harvested materials to examine our connection to commonplace objects, geometry and the domestic space. The Center Space, a 2,295-square-foot gallery, which features student-driven exhibitions, will have a group exhibition titled "Unveiled," curated by Center Space Project, which includes student and alumni works.

Within the second-floor 2,726-square-foot Mezzanine Gallery, another group exhibition titled "Deconstruct + Reconstruction" will explore the act of dismantling as a path to reveal or expose through comparisons. Artists in the exhibition include Bast, Daniel Dove, Katy Heinlein, Aki Nagasaka, Ian Pedigo, Thúy-Vân Vu, Rebecca Ward and Phoebe Washburn.

The East Gallery, a 2,080-square-foot space, is programmed in collaboration with the department faculty and will showcase exhibitions by an artist or a collection that pertains to the department's selected curricula. The first is a solo exhibition, "Glaciers" by Mexico City-based artist Magali Lara, co-curated by Department of Art and Art History faculty members Dr. Andrea Giunta and Dr. Roberto Tejada.

In the West Lobby, New York-based artist David Ellis will present an original commissioned video sponsored by Landmarks, the public art program at the university. The three exterior halls in the Visual Arts Center will show a selection of work from the department. In the West Hall, there will be selections from the collection of the Guest Artist in Printmaking Program and an annual visiting artist program will be presented. The East Hall will feature a selection of objects from the Mesoamerica Center focusing on the arts, languages and archaeology of indigenous Mesoamerican cultures. The Entry Hall will feature selections from the 2010 Undergraduate Senior Art Exhibition.