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Emerson Advancing Media Arts with New Downtown Gallery

Emerson College will open one of Boston’s first media arts-focused galleries next month, offering a new venue to highlight the work of Emerson faculty and international media artists, and adding momentum to the transformation of the downtown neighborhood.

Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery (EUA), at 25 Avery Street, will exhibit new media, film, video, and performance art that aligns with the artistic mission of the College. It will open Friday, October 21, with a video and photography installation by artist Oliver Herring.

“This is a significant commitment to developing a visual arts footprint that is parallel to the College’s contribution in the performing arts,” said Joseph Ketner, Emerson’s Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art, and distinguished curator-in-residence in the Visual and Media Arts Department.

The gallery is being funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The roughly 2,800-square-foot venue will include three exhibition spaces: a two-story atrium gallery, a one-story gallery, and a “Video Jukebox” that will present the work of Emerson faculty.

President Lee Pelton said the College is grateful to MassDevelopment and the Cultural Council for their support in the creation of the gallery, which will build on Emerson’s role in transforming Downtown Crossing into a vital and growing neighborhood.

“The arts can profoundly connect people through shared experiences, and this new space will underscore the College’s vibrant Visual and Media Arts program and showcase diverse artists’ works to inspire our campus community, our neighbors, and the thousands of people from around the world who visit this area’s abundance of historical and cultural offerings each year,” Pelton said.

Emerson Urban Arts will curate four to six exhibits per year, featuring national and international media and visual artists, as well as Emerson’s work in digital media, projection mapping, augmented reality, data visualization, and performance art. When the galleries are closed, passersby will be able to experience a New Media Windows program that will include laser light installations, holograms, rear screen projections and interactive new media.

The opening exhibit, Oliver Herring: Areas for Action, will be the second of two parts. In May, Herring came to Emerson and staged public participatory performances that involved volunteers posing and moving around while being covered in paint, glitter, or foil. He recorded the performances, and from the gallery’s opening until December 3, EUA will show Herring’s synchronized video projections and still images from the project.

In the spring, EUA will showcase the work of graduate students from Emerson, Boston University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Generation Next.

Ketner said the EUA is a companion to the College’s Huret & Spector Gallery in the Tufte Performance and Production Center. Opened in 2003, the gallery features student and faculty work, as well as special exhibits by guest artists.

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