Nestled into the first floor of PLNU’s Nicholson Commons, a neon fluorescent sign above a door reads “Love Gallery,” inviting passersby into a cozy, yet spacious room that promises inspiration on its bright white walls.
For years, the Love Gallery has been a university staple and a home for many of the community’s art-minded students. The space has hosted capstone exhibitions for graduating studio majors, class exhibitions for classes such as Digital Photography and Graphic Design and has showcased the work of recent grads and professional artists.
On May 13, renovations will begin to turn the Commuter Lounge and the Love Gallery into a full-time MOSAIC Lounge, meaning the Love Gallery will no longer be a usable art gallery.
“At this time, it means that we will not have a space like Love Gallery. Keller Gallery will still serve as the main university gallery and will continue to host all the capstone exhibitions for the studio majors as well as professional shows,” said PLNU art professor Lael Corbin. “What we lose with Love Gallery is a designated space for displaying artwork by freshmen, sophomores and juniors, specific class exhibitions, and shows for non-art and design majors.”
Besides being a space to showcase the work of students, Love Gallery has also been completely run by students. Russel Wood, Ryan Shoemaker, Easton Kawawaki and Mark Garcia have been the gallery’s student directors for the space, in charge of setting the schedules and curating the exhibitions.
“It’s been such a meaningful experience for me,” said junior Mark Garcia. “I’ve not only been able to showcase my own art on these walls but have had the privilege of helping other students, art majors and non-art majors, to be able to express themselves and share their creativity with their peers. It’s a really special place, I’m definitely going to miss it.”
The Love Gallery has served as more than just a gallery, for many students, it has been a way to speak their truth, send a message and hopefully even make a difference.
“My hope is that Love Gallery has been a space where all students at PLNU could come and be inspired, challenged and feel a sense of connection,” Corbin said. “[Art professor] Courtney Mayer has had her classes put on really important shows during Creation Care Week reminding us that we are part of larger ecosystems. Students have put up works that challenge notions of beauty, diversity and equality. I believe that these exhibitions have sent ripples out into the larger PLNU community, encouraging important conversations long after the artwork have been shown.”