The SFU Art Gallery in the Academic Quadrangle only serves a small portion of the population while occupying one of the busiest spots on Burnaby campus. Because of this, those who run the gallery need to either make their exhibits more interactive and accessible, or consider relocating elsewhere.
The Art Gallery was established for the purpose of helping us contemplate art both politically and socially. A recent exhibit by Alex Morrison was focused on bringing attention to how physical locations affect our behaviour. However, this is 2016, and these functions may be better fulfilled today by Internet forums, social media, informative pamphlets, or even a well-written essay. Using such a large space in the AQ is overkill.
Another concern is that the average undergraduate is not able to fully appreciate the exhibits that are currently being displayed. Simply put, the gallery is a little pretentious, and seems to have failed its intended function by not providing enough information about the artwork. This problem could be remediated by providing, on each display, detailed information that spells out exactly what the intent of the artist is in relation to each piece, and the relationship between the pieces themselves.
Moreover, the Art Gallery doesn’t engage undergraduates or create a space for interaction and dialogue between visitors. This could be easily remedied by implementing exhibits that are more interactive. It would allow visitors to contribute to the display, rather than being a bystander absorbing ‘wisdom’ and ‘inspiration’ from a great artist. That said, there are occasionally events and tours that help visitors engage with the exhibitions, even if those events seem fairly sparse.
Another solution would be to relocate the Art Gallery and repurpose the space in the AQ as a multi-use room for daily activities, such as board games, video games, arts and crafts, casual improv or theatre games, drop-in jam sessions for SFU musicians, or weekly events or contests. The space could also be used to hold workshops and to teach students skills that we might actually be interested in.