The University Art Gallery Celebrates 40 years with new exhibit

It has been 40 years since Sonoma State’s art gallery opened. With deep culture and history the art gallery consistently provides unique, abstract, thought-inducing art. The goal of the gallery is not only to be pleasing to look at but educational and thought-provoking.

As a celebration of the art gallery’s 40-year anniversary it will host the “40 by 40” art exhibition. This exhibition will showcase 40 pieces of art, all created by different artists. The 40 different pieces, representative of the 40 years the art gallery has been on campus, will showcase the level of excellence the Sonoma State art gallery has maintained.

The “40 by 40” art exhibition will display artwork from various artists around the world. There isn’t a specific reason why each piece was chosen for this exhibition, only that all of them have provided significant meaning to Sonoma State. 

Michael Schwager is the art gallery director at Sonoma State and has maintained this position for over 27 years. He talked about the 40th anniversary exhibition being different than anything they’ve done before. Schwager said, “these artists all had significant roles in the gallery’s history, in terms of having their art exhibited.” The relevance of these artists shows the school’s commitment to providing excellent artwork for students and the public to view and think about. 

Schwager spoke about how, while art galleries may not be the biggest priority for many people, he still urges people to take the time to experience this monumental collection of history. He said, “modern art isn’t for everybody but I think most people don’t see art on their radar. I think most people just need to see this art gallery and spend a little time here and gain an appreciation for the visual arts.”

The gallery has been exhibiting shows from various artist for the last 40 years. Distinguished artists such as Larry Bell, Louise Bourgeois, Hung Liu, William Wegman and many more well-known artists have had their work displayed. Work by these artists and many more will go on display this Thursday, Nov. 8. 

Schwager talked about his excitement for the “40 by 40” exhibition. As the main curator of this exhibition, he’s proud to showcase the selection of art. “This show is two things at once: to show the gallery’s history and an exhibition of contemporary art,” he said. “This is a way to celebrate the commitment that campus has to the visual arts because not every campus has an art gallery.” 

After asking Schwager about the inspiration for the art chosen for this exhibition, he simply said “Nothing. No inspiration for any of the art chosen, all are unique in their own respect.”  He added, “The mission of the gallery is to bring artists from wherever they are to Sonoma State to exhibit their work.”

The “40 by 40” art exhibition will debut on Thursday, Nov. 8 and it will be open from 4-7pm. There will be live music by student musicians and beverages will be provided.

After asking Schwager about what he would tell students and faculty about the exhibition he said “Come to the art gallery! It will be open from Tuesday through Sunday, every week, 11am-4pm on weekdays and 12pm-4pm weekends, we never charge for admission and it’s a great way to see amazing art.” 

Within these 40 years, the Sonoma State art gallery has exhibited fantastic pieces of art from around the region and beyond, the “40 by 40” art exhibition will show the level of excellence the arts program has maintained. Not only can people appreciate the 40 pieces of art for the 40 years the art gallery has been on campus but be prepared for the next 40 years of excellence.