Lucy Bell, student photographer and journalist

After nearly 50 years of displaying artists’ collections on Marshall University’s main campus, the Birke Art Gallery is moving to join the university’s two other galleries in the Visual Arts Center in downtown Huntington.

Renovations are underway at the Visual Arts Center in preparation for the grand reopening of the Birke Art Gallery on November 16. The inaugural exhibition will take place the same evening and will feature works by student artists. The students featured in this exhibition have completed the foundation review process through the School of Art and Design and will present their best work of the semester.

While it may seem bittersweet to close the doors to a space with such a deep history within its walls, the change is welcome, according to gallery director Jamie Platt.

“I’m going to miss it,” Platt said. “This gallery has so much history, and it’s also a presence of the School of Art and Design on the campus of Marshall University. However, I’m so excited about the good things it will bring that I feel like we can close this chapter and feel good about what it was and what it’s going to be.

The current exhibition to be seen at the Birke Art Gallery will likely be the last exhibition to be shown in this space. The “Senses” exhibition features the work of photographer Christiana Caro and sculptor Kimberly Lyle. Although neither artist knew the other before, there was a coincidental connection between the two works.

The Birke Art Gallery will join the Charles W. and Norma C. Carroll Gallery and Student Gallery on the downtown campus. The consolidation of the three galleries allows for a more cohesive experience for guests as well as for administration.

“We have the potential to have art to see every day,” Platt said. “When I travel between the two galleries, if something is happening in one gallery, but I’m in the other, I can’t be there right away. And if someone comes in and has a question, they have to wait for me. So, it’s going to be very easy for me to be able to oversee all the galleries in one place.