Georgetown’s presence in the local visual arts community has been muted at best. Art displayed on campus is largely confined to the 400-square-foot Spagnuolo Art Gallery, which does not showcase student artworks to a wide audience. Student art can sometimes be found in murals around campus, Students of Georgetown, Inc. locations and Kickback, but Georgetown still lacks a unified space to showcase the product of students’ creativity and hard work. The creation of the de la Cruz Gallery of Art is poised to change that, as the de la Cruz family looks to reshape Georgetown’s image into a cultural center for D.C.’s art community.
The de la Cruz gallery will publicly showcase the works of Georgetown students and professionals alike in a space more than five times larger than any dedicated arts studio on campus. At 2,500 square feet, the gallery is a definite boost to the university’s Department of Art and Art History. By displaying historical work and contemporary student and professional art together, students’ pieces will hopefully attract a wider audience of visitors, admirers and potential patrons. By drawing professional visual artists from the District, students will also have an opportunity to work alongside professionals who would serve as mentors or give talks on campus. This could have the potential of building a network of artists to support undergraduate students in their pursuits. Therefore, this gallery is a key step towards strengthening the arts community on campus and in the D.C. community at large.
The family’s gift made it clear that the Georgetown community recognizes the importance of promoting visual arts. Displaying student artwork alongside travelling exhibits will open up the Georgetown student artist community to a larger, districtwide audience. The gallery, set to host monographic and thematic art shows that will draw on the collections from D.C. area museums and beyond, will engage a wider audience and, consequently, promote a higher level of interest in arts at Georgetown.
If the purpose of the gallery is to finally give students a space to showcase their art, then a further commitment to exposure to patrons, enthusiasts and professionals is necessary. When it is inaugurated, the gallery should also provide clarifications on programming and how students can benefit from showcasing their work. If the gallery fulfills its purpose, the arts culture on campus will see a renaissance in its near future.