Herron Galleries safely reopen with 3 compelling exhibits

Observer looks at a picture in the Herron GalleriesView print quality image
Three new exhibits in the Galleries at the Herron School of Art and Design are worth the time to explore -- just wear a mask and keep your distance. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Did you know that world-class art is on display for your enjoyment and examination six days a week, on campus, for free, in the Galleries at the Herron School of Art and Design?

If you're new to IUPUI, you're forgiven for not knowing. But consider this your invitation, just in time for three new exhibits.

And if you're wondering what a visit to an art gallery during the COVID-19 era looks like, wonder no more. At the galleries in Eskenazi Hall, the experience is just as good -- if not better than ever.

The newly launched exhibits -- "Human Topographies" by Dan Mills in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries; "Holy" by Donna Ferrato in the Marsh Gallery; and "Moving with the Land, Listening to the Ancestors" by Jana Harper in the Basile Gallery -- are presented beautifully in wide-open, airy spaces. All visitors are asked to use hand sanitizer before entering, mask up, keep 6 feet from their fellow guests and heed capacity limits. Gallery attendants will also collect contact information for future contact tracing if necessary.

"We looked at other models from museums and galleries and how those models interfaced with the standards that IU and IUPUI developed," said Joseph Mella, director and curator of the Galleries at the Herron School of Art and Design. "We made sure they covered the right bases."

Once you're standing in front of one of Mills' data-driven paintings, studying one of Ferrato's dramatic documentary photos of women, or listening to Harper recite the names of past tribal members in a moving film, you'll be treated to a moment with fine art away from the hustle and bustle of the campus and beyond. With QR codes on the walls of the galleries, you can even download more content from the privacy and convenience of your phone.

Oh, and if you're taking classes virtually or are otherwise not on campus, you can still experience the galleries through their virtual tours, available for all three current exhibitions.

"When the campus closes Nov. 20 and goes into distance learning, we wanted to be nimble and prepared, to have the tools in place to still use the galleries and exhibitions as pedagogical tools and cultural experiences," Mella said.

Classes and groups are encouraged to visit, as the current exhibits can engage topics ranging from geography to English to women's studies to, well, almost any subject. Reservations for groups need to be requested via an online form.

"We're trying to make curricular connections across the university, to show how central art and art history can be to a number of different disciplines," Mella said.

The galleries, at 735 W. New York St., are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours on Wednesdays until 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.