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Education through exhibition

Cross-legged on the cement floor of the Centre Gallery, Nhieu Dang sits surrounded by miniature towers and landscapes. He and several other architecture students have toiled all day to create an aesthetically attractive exhibition aptly titled “Off the Walls.”

“I’m so tired, I can’t even think,” he says.

Dang, a graduate student and president of the Architectural College Council (ACC) at USF, explained that architecture students spent about 40 hours per week last semester to work on their projects.

Dang worked with the faculty and students to bring the show to Centre Gallery this year.

“We want the community to see what we’ve been working on all semester,” he said.

Located in the Marshall Center, the gallery was established in 1984 and is run entirely by students.

It hosts shows geared specifically toward the interests of the all-inclusive USF community, including those who study in areas outside of the fine arts department.

“We are known to bring a good amount of crowd to the Centre Gallery,” Dang said of the ACC’s exhibition.

Off the Walls, the gallery’s first show of the semester, is one of eight scheduled to run this Spring. This semester’s list of exhibitions includes a furniture showcase, a human rights exhibit, an all-Florida show, and a photography display by a Korean artist.

ACC Secretary Wes Luke, an architecture student who participated in setting up the show, said it would make students more aware of the impact of architecture in their lives.

“I want our work to be reflected from something that is insightful,” he said. “I want it to be coming out of the walls.”

Off the Walls opened Jan. 6, but the reception will be held tomorrow night from 7 to 9 The gallery will then make room for the Furniture Design/ Fabrication show, set to run through the end of the month.

While Centre Gallery is the university’s only student-run gallery, the USF campus is also home to the Contemporary Art Museum.

CAM was officially founded in January 1989. Since then, dozens of shows have traveled to the museum from various locations around the world.

Alexa Favata, associate director of the Institute for Research in Art at CAM, said that many of the museum’s successful shows can be attributed to an exhibition called Made in Florida which premiered at CAM when it was founded. The show, which spent several years traveling around the world, created networking opportunities for the museum.

“It sort of catapulted us into an international arena,” Favata said.

Currently, the museum features two major exhibitions that will run until tomorrow. Walk Ways is an exhibition that shows how people’s lives are affected by the act of walking, and Jim Campbell uses complex graphic imagery to project this act.

The Amazing and the Immutable, a collection of vintage and contemporary work tracing the lineage of photography, will take its place in early February.

The semester will close out with the 28th Annual Juried USF Student Art Exhibition. Favata said shows generally last about two months.

“I think that CAM reflects the art of our time,” she said.

Favata said she felt that the art of today mirrors our society. She said some exhibitions are initiated by the school, while others are shows that have been put on in different areas that travel to the university.

Shows at CAM are generally directed toward a wider audience than shows at Centre Gallery. Favata said at least 1,000 people, including many non-USF students, viewed Trespassing: Houses x Artists last semester.

“I think it’s pretty important for all people (to visit museums), whether they are art-oriented or not,” she said.