Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


The art upstairs

What most students do not realize while they scurry from class to class through the Breezeway is that just above their heads and up a flight of stairs, lies one of FAU’s two art galleries-the Ritter Art Gallery.

Dimly lit, tucked away so secretly beside the Library, and standing in the shadow of the more esteemed Schmidt Gallery, it’s easy to forget that it even exists. But the Ritter Gallery, named for Mr. and Mrs. Roland Ritter who funded a sizeable amount of the construction cost, does exist and is there for everyone’s enjoyment.

From FAU students to the South Florida community at large, it stands to serve anyone who is willing to partake in an afternoon of higher culture. University Gallery director W. Rod Faulds explains the main objective of the Ritter, “We support the art curriculum and because we’re training young artists, the idea is to show them examples of contemporary art… art being made by living artists.”

In doing so, the gallery does its part in encouraging these young art students and by giving them an outlet to display their work. That is always what distinguished the Ritter from the Schmidt-it caters more to student exhibitions. In fact, a Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition is held at the end of each semester for students graduating with a degree in studio art. There is also an annual juried exhibition that is open for any FAU student to submit their work.

Because she enjoys painting in her spare time and often displays her work on the Internet, Andrea McGinty, 19, says, “Getting some of my paintings in the Ritter would be amazing, very exciting. I could always use the exposure. The more people that see my work, the better.”

That is not to say the gallery does not also feature established professionals. The Ritter is closed for the rest of the summer, but starting Sept. 2, the gallery’s committee is very excited to unveil a display commemorating the centennial of Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Yiddish writer who most notably wrote about assimilating as an immigrant in America.

Once the fall semester begins, students can look forward to seeing this display and many others during the Ritter’s normal operating hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Only about six to fifteen students, on average, pass through the Ritter’s doors per day. In the past, they have tried everything from operating a coffee bar inside the gallery to having house bands perform in an attempt to attract more visitors. But in the end, the individual must decide to attend exhibitions on their own free will.

“Contemporary art is very much a reflection of contemporary culture. It has some relevance to our lives,” says Faulds. And while all students may not major in a visual art, there is certainly an incentive to make the trip up the stairs to the Ritter, in that it has to do with “simply wanting to be stimulated in a way that uses one of your primary senses,” he says.

For those reasons, it couldn’t hurt to stop by the Ritter Gallery and benefit from all it has to offer. And perhaps the most appealing reason of all is that admission is free. That’s right, free. As college students who are in an endless pursuit to get the most bang out of our precious buck, that should be able to fit into all of our budgets.

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