The de la Cruz Gallery of Art will reopen January on the first floor of the Edmund A. Walsh Building after a semester-long delay, according to Assistant Vice President of University Facilities Gina Bleck.
Difficulties in acquiring covers for a glass display case for suspended sculptures, among other unspecified pieces of equipment, delayed completion of the project, originally planned to open this fall, according to Bleck.
The gallery space is currently undergoing a final round of inspections by architects, engineers and university staff, according to Bleck.
Construction of the 2,500-square-foot exhibit space began last February, more than a year after Maria (CAS ’87) and Alberto de la Cruz (CAS ’89) donated an unspecified amount for the project in Oct. 2015.
The gallery will feature travelling exhibitions and historical artwork from museums across Washington, D.C., as well as original pieces from Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students. The space will complement the Lucile M. and Richard F.X. Spagnuolo Art Gallery, which opened in 1958 and is also located on the first floor of Walsh.
Art History Department Chair Alfred Acres said in an interview with The Hoya Oct. 16, 2015 the de la Cruz Gallery of Art would include paintings, sculptures, and installation pieces, while Spagnuolo would host photography and works on paper.
Al Miner, Georgetown’s Director of Galleries, said the gallery will host events both open to the public and exclusive to students, adding that the space will allow visitors to not only admire the artwork, but also engage with its creators.
“The gallery won’t be a passive viewing space”, Miner wrote in an email to The Hoya. “An annual public program of performance art, visiting artist presentations, and innovative multidisciplinary dialogues will ensure that the gallery is a space to have memorable experiences, ones that will appeal to and resonate with students well beyond the art department.”
In addition to the de la Cruz gallery, the Walsh lobby’s paint, lighting, benches, and restrooms are also being renovated.
The gallery replaced the Walsh Black Box Theatre, the main auditorium used by student theatre and dance groups.
The theater was closed last year to prepare for construction, leading to the creation of the Village C Theatre in Village C West Residence Hall and additional space in Poulton Hall to compensate for the loss of space for the performing arts, according to Maya Roth, the director of Theater and Performance Studies.
The Village C Theatre, formerly occupied by a performing arts classroom and alumni lounge, now serves as a black box theatre with lighting and seating, despite no longer being able accommodate classes. The student theater groups displaced by the creation of the Village C Theatre now share the rehearsal space offered in Poulton Hall with Hoya Kids.
Roth highlighted that the music department remains the only group on campus lacking creative space at Georgetown.
“The biggest glaring gap that remains is a new or renovated space for Music: for concerts, for classes, for rehearsals, including ones specifically designed or renovated with choral music and, separately, instrumental music,” Roth wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Roth endorsed the repurposing of the Walsh Black Box Theatre, saying it would be an appropriate forum for the visual arts as it had been for theater before.
“WBB will make a great art gallery,” Roth wrote in the email. “It had made a versatile, great space for many groups.”