When Edgewood College opened its new Visual and Theatre Arts Center in the summer of 2012, it gained a dedicated gallery space. In its first year, the gallery exhibited diverse, often challenging pieces by artists such as Mark Morrisroe, Nan Goldin and Milton Rogovin. These shows were largely the work of director Paul Baker Prindle, who recently departed to oversee galleries at the University of Nevada at Reno. Now that he's gone, new director David Wells must carry the torch.
Wells is no stranger to Madison's arts scene. He co-curated the art show at Central Library's "Stacked" fundraiser in September and belonged to the Madison Cultural Plan's steering committee. He also ran the UW's Design Gallery for several years, as well as the Edenfred Artist Residency. And he's a working artist, with an exhibition of his own work opening at Overture Center on Dec. 16.
Trained as an installation artist, Wells seems to think in terms of systems, envisioning the big picture while zeroing in on the details of a project. This trait emerges in his vision for the gallery.
"One of the great things about Edgewood as a Dominican college is its sense of values," he explains. "It's the year of compassion right now, so the exhibitions will look at this theme and its relationship to community."
Wells hopes to bring about more collaboration between the gallery and area organizations as he develops exhibitions for the 2014-15 school year. This involves building community, as well as taking art into places where people work and play.
"I'm especially interested in...artists working with ideas about sustainability and community development," Wells says. "It's important to think about how we as a gallery promote those ideas and look at ways to 'Artists want to see their work make a difference.'