A mess on the floor, paint buckets and artwork everywhere, a few ladders here and there.
Now that disaster is not the new form of art on display, but the scene that can consistently be seen during the transition process that follows every change in the exhibits at the Memorial Union Gallery.
Netha Cloeter and her six-person student staff has worked in collaboration with the NDSU Theatre Arts Department, which provided six additional students, to take apart the birds of Ali LaRock and Paul Noot, ship off the art, bring in the new exhibit and erect the masterpiece that is Don Larew’s “The ART of Theater: Master – Mentor – Medium,” all in just four days.
With all of the workers doubling as students, beside the Visual Arts and Gallery Coordinator herself, Cloeter realized the importance of communication required to work around varying schedules and people coming in and out constantly.
“It is hard to keep track of all of it and make sure people know what they are doing,” Cloeter said, “but the curator Don Larew, who is a former professor and historian of the Little Country Theater, drew up a plan that made it a lot easier to know where things need to go.”
Even before any actual alterations are made to the gallery, an entire week was devoted to gathering the necessary material for the upcoming exhibit. Cloeter stated that everything with “The ART of Theater” is on loan from the theater department, the costume collection that is in the Family Life Center, the NDSU Archives and the personal items of Don Larew.
The first physical focus after tearing down the previous exhibit is wall repair. Anywhere in the gallery that needs cosmetic care is attended to with paint touched up on the stages and moveable walls.
On those freshly painted walls are texts produced by the Memorial Union Graphics Shop, which Cloeter described as “the perfect way to have text on the wall that we can take down pretty easily.”
The ceiling functioned with the wall, as there is a backdrop in the rear of the gallery hung from the rafters to compliment Larew’s vertical aspects of the show.
“There was also a language we used for all of the same-sized pieces throughout the exhibit, so they were consistently placed at a uniform height throughout the exhibit,” said Cloeter.
Once all of the pieces of the exhibit are in place, the last step of the installation process is the lighting.
“Overall, it is an intense process, especially with the time constraint of only four days, but we are always proud of our final product,” said Cloeter of the sometimes-messy start, which becomes astounding art in every exhibit at the Memorial Union Gallery.