Who We Are
The Visual Arts Center (VAC) is a 13,000 square-foot gallery situated in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. Our mission is to provide a platform for artists, curators, and educators to experiment, test ideas, and take risks. Through our exhibitions and public programs, we aim to spark generative conversations about art and contemporary society. We believe art has the potential to unite, inform, and inspire us to take action toward creating a more just world. The VAC is always free and open to the public.
Photo: Sandy Carson.
What We’re Fundraising For
Center Space Project (CSP) is an undergraduate student-run arts collective that works collaboratively with the Visual Arts Center to provide students with opportunities to participate in an interdisciplinary artistic community. Through their programming—including exhibitions, publications, and events—they engage with a diverse range of creative voices both within and beyond the College of Fine Arts. CSP organizes two student-curated exhibitions each academic year in the VAC’s Center Space Gallery. Exhibitions are selected through a call for proposals each spring that is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at UT Austin, and selections are made by the CSP student committee in collaboration with VAC staff. Student curators are invited to organize public programming in conjunction with their exhibitions, including artist talks, performances, panel discussions, gallery tours, art-making demonstrations, community events, and more.
Center Space Project students with artist Sula Bermudez-Silverman (third from right) at the opening reception for Sula Bermudez-Silverman: Sutures in Fall 2018.
In addition to exhibitions organized by Center Space Project, PhD students in Art History are invited to curate exhibitions and programming in the VAC's galleries as part of our Curatorial Fellowship program. Our Fieldwork Projects gallery space offers additional opportunities for student-faculty collaborations. Each of these initiatives supports students in and beyond the College of Fine Arts in their development as artists, curators, educators, and scholars.
Studio Art MFA students at the opening reception for Good Strong Handshake, an exhibition of their work in the Fieldwork Projects space in Fall 2019.
Your donation to our student-curated exhibitions will directly support the scholarly and artistic work of students at the Visual Arts Center. This includes the production of new artwork; shipping, framing, and installation costs; artist travel and accommodations; honoraria for guest artists and speakers; and programming expenses. A donation of any amount is greatly appreciated and will enable undergraduate and graduate student curators to realize the kinds of exciting and ambitious projects they bring to us each year!
Past student-curated exhibitions at the VAC have included:
Will Wilson: AIR / Survey, an exhibition of photographic, video, and sculptural works by Diné/Navajo artist Will Wilson, organized by Art History PhD student Kaila Schedeen. Additional support for this show enabled Kaila to bring Will to Austin to install his work, and to invite Marika Alvarado, a local Lipan Mescalero Apache Medicine Woman, to cultivate native Texan plants for the exhibition and participate in public programming.
Installation view of Will Wilson: AIR / Survey, with plants cultivated by Medicine Woman Marika Alvarado. Photo: Sandy Carson.
Grasping fragments, or otherwise calculating distance, a group show organized by Studio Art BFA / Art History BA student Celia Shaheen which brought together the work of four Iranian-American artists working in a range of media. Additional support for this show enabled Celia to bring one of the artists to Austin to install her work and supported the production of new works for the exhibition.
Opening reception for Grasping fragments, or otherwise calculating distance in Spring 2019. Photo: Sandy Carson.Between Two Worlds, a show organized by Studio Art MFA student Jesus Trevino that brought together work by twelve artists from the Texas-Mexico border. Jesus used funds for this exhibition to transport artworks from across Texas and beyond to Austin, and to invite Dr. Ramón Salidívar of Stanford University to deliver a talk on the work of Américo Paredes, whose writings inspired the exhibition.
Installation view of Between Two Worlds in Fall 2020. Photo: Sandy Carson.
Oozy Rat in a Sanitary Zoo, an exhibition featuring the work of five undergraduate artists all engaged in explorations of the relationship between humans and the natural world. Additional funding for this exhibition allowed for the production of new work and enabled the student artist-curators to organize a science fair-style event which brought together a wide range of artists, activists, and other organizations and community members invested in environmental work.
Opening reception for Oozy Rat in a Sanitary Zoo in Spring 2019. Photo: Sandy Carson.
Sula Bermudez-Silverman: Sutures, a solo exhibition of sculpture and textile works by artist Sula Bermudez-Silverman organized by Art History MA student Lilia Rocio Taboada. Additional funds raised for this exhibition enabled Lilia to design and print an exhibition catalogue, and to bring Bermudez-Silverman to Austin for a one-month residency during which she produced new work for the exhibition, held studio visits with UT students, and participated in public programming.
Opening reception for Sula Bermudez-Silverman: Sutures in Fall 2018.
For more examples of student-curated exhibitions, please visit our exhibition archive.
We hope you'll consider supporting future student-led projects like these at the Visual Arts Center!