CSU Monterey Bay is beginning to look more like a college campus and less like a former military base, thanks in large part to the new College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences building, which opened this semester. A ribbon-cutting on Oct. 11 marked the official grand opening for the building and for the Visual & Public Art Department’s gallery, a bright and modern space immediately inside the front door. On a recent afternoon, a student wanders in between classes.
“It’s kind of like a museum,” he says. “I just noticed it right now.”
Raffaele Reade, a senior VPA student who works in the gallery, estimates 30 to 40 people come through daily.
The inaugural exhibit, Quintessence, features seven large photographs by Roxana “Rocky” Keland, who was part of VPA’s first class 25 years ago. (As a student, she photographed CSUMB’s brand-new student body, and exhibited those photographs as public art on buses.) Keland died in March after a battle with breast cancer, and her final body of work seems aware of the brevity of life; flowers, in various states of blossoming or decay, are shown on fire or nestled into bubble wrap – unnatural settings for organic matter. The photographs are available for $1,500 donations that support the Roxana E. Keland Endowed Memorial Scholarship, to support student artists.
Angelica Muro, VPA chair, sees the gallery as a place where future students will be able to exhibit their work, and also study curation and installation. Featuring Keland’s work was the ideal place to start, she says: “She was incredibly important to us, and it was important we honor her legacy.”