The Women’s Center is going out with a bang – or at least with an art show – as its tenants celebrate their last quarter in Building 434.
The Women’s Center has inhabited the building, located next to South Hall, for 25 years. This quarter the center will be moving, along with other student services on campus, to the Student Resource Building, currently under construction near San Rafael Residence Hall. Yesterday from 4 to 7 p.m. the Women’s Center gave out food and played music for the grand opening of its goodbye exhibit, “First Fifty/Final Fling.”
The art gallery, which will remain in Building 434 for the rest of the quarter, will display the first fifty entries of ready-to-hang artwork submitted by students, faculty, staff and community members.
“This showing of artwork by, for or about women also serves to celebrate the past 25 years of the Women’s Center’s being here,” Jennifer Marsh, Women’s Center Gallery assistant curator, said.
Jenny Wilson, the center’s art gallery curator, said this final show will exhibit the values of the Women’s Center while recognizing the quintessential role the building has played throughout the center’s history.
“This event is particularly special because it is the well-deserved recognition of all that Building 434 has done for the UCSB and local community over the past 25 years,” Wilson said. “Besides opening up the interior walls of our building to local artists and aspiring undergraduate art curators, we have opened our doors to new ways to thinking about feminism, diversity and sexuality.”
The artworks in the gallery portray different aspects of feminine culture and are either created by women or in respect and appreciation of women.
Aspiring artist Perla Lang, a first-year biopsychology major who was present at yesterday’s event, said the gallery is an outlet for artistic appreciation.
“It is great to see that us aspiring artists have a place where we can feel as though our art can be displayed for a lot of people to see,” Lang said. “It makes me feel like my work will one day be appreciated.”
The move to the new building is slated for December, but the exact date depends on when the new building is finished. Wilson said frequenters of the Women’s Center will miss the current site, which they consider a sort of home.
“The building has a homey feel to it,” Wilson said. “It’s welcoming and open enough that people see it, but secure enough that women feel safe.”
Women’s Center Director De Acker agreed with Wilson.
“I love the space,” Acker said. “Especially because it’s in the center of campus, it’s highly visible and easy to find.”
Wilson said the Women’s Center provides a safe space to discuss everything from sexual assault to pregnancy.
“We deal with a lot with serious issues such as rape, as well as less serious issues such as providing women with a room to breast-feed,” Wilson said. “It has been so progressive and influential; this event celebrates that. The building has been here so long, but the legacy in the new building will carry on.”
The future of Building 434 is not yet clear, as the university has yet to decide on specific plans for the area. Despite feelings of nostalgia, Acker said the move will give the center better facilities.
“The Women’s Center is now in what used to be part of the original military base before UCSB was UCSB,” Acker said. “So with this new space we’re moving up.”