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From the vault

Profile image for By George Joseph / Staff Writer
By George Joseph / Staff Writer

College features rare gems from permanent collection

The University of North Texas College of Visual Arts & Design digs deep into its collection for its newest exhibit, which opens Thursday evening.

The UNT Art Gallery exhibit, which opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., makes available to the public a selection of the college’s permanent works.

“Deep Storage: Special Selections From the Permanent Collection at the College of Visual Arts and Design” boasts pieces from several artists you probably read about in your intro art history class, including Henry Moore and Pierre Auguste-Renoir.

“One of our motivations was to represent the diversity of artists that are in the collection,” said Victoria Estrada Berg DeCuir, the gallery’s curator. “We have several British artists of renown; Carlos Merida, a Guatemalan artist who served as a visiting professor at UNT in the ’40s; John Thomas Biggers, an African-American whose drawings specifically have to do with folk tales — so we have a lot of diversity both in artwork and artists.”

The exhibit is intended to open works to the public that had been shown rarely, if ever, due to safety concerns and the delicate nature of the pieces.

“I’ve curated exhibitions at the UNT Art Gallery in the past, but I wanted to reach deeper into our storage for our exhibition and bring out artworks that have rarely been seen or never been seen,” DeCuir said.

Because most of the exhibition pieces are paper, exposure to people and light can be damaging, DeCuir said, but the goal of the exhibit is to share these treasures with the public.

“We are an educational institution in an academic setting, so our aim is to provide more access to students and the Denton community at large,” said DeCuir. “That’s part of our mission.”

She added that the gallery itself would be a cool respite from a hot summer day.

“Our space is very unique in that it’s so flexible — we can build temporary walls and change the way it feels,” DeCuir said. “It has a quiet darkness to it because of the stained concrete floor. In the summer it becomes a cool calming cavern space. It’s very inviting in that sense.”

She encouraged observers to set aside ample time for the exhibit.

“The pieces might seem simple, but all have complex stories to tell,” she said. “They require contemplation.”

The exhibition runs through Aug. 17 in the gallery, located on the first floor of the UNT Art Building, at Mulberry and Welch streets. Admission is free. Summer gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call 940-565-4316 or visit .