The Gallery Vault is a Dream Come True

Friday, November 19, 2010

What has been a dream of some for many years came to fruition this fall when a student-operated art gallery opened in downtown St. Cloud.

Named The Gallery Vault, the facility at 822 West St. Germain St. was the result of a lot of a hard work by a few St. Cloud State University students. Those students include seniors Blake Weld, Chalyn Day and Robert Heid and recent grad Sara Larson ’10.

“The idea of having our own gallery off campus has been around for a while,” Weld said one day recently as he, Day and Heid gathered in the gallery. All are members of the Art Student Union (ASU) at St. Cloud State and all are expected to graduate this school year.

The gallery opened officially Sept. 17, and thanks to a $6,000 grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board has enough money to stay open until the first of the year.The students hope to raise enough money to keep the gallery open indefinitely.

Day credited Larson for doing the majority of the work writing the grant. “It was a lot of work and she did an outstanding job,” Day said of Larson who is now living and working in Portland, Ore.

“If not for her, none of this would have been possible,” said Day, Willmar, who specializes in large-scale printmaking.

By having a gallery downtown, community members are much more likely to visit the exhibits than they would if it were being shown on campus. That and the fact that they are learning how to operate their own gallery is a huge plus, Weld said.

“People are much more apt to come and interact with us,” said Weld, who is from Hopkins and specializes in black and white photography.

Besides offering a space to show their work to people in the greater St. Cloud community, the gallery offers students real-life opportunities of running a gallery. They must do everything from curate a show to paying the utilities, unlocking the doors and handling press releases.

“This is just another notch up from what we’ve learned in the classroom,” Day said. “We are learning the business end of the art world.”

Heid, from Luxemburg, said that getting such experience while still in school is huge. He hopes to use that knowledge when he graduates and pursues a career in either painting or print making or some form of multimedia.

The Gallery Vault, operated by the ASU and St. Cloud State University is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

- Mike Nistler

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