Art department will bestow new name for the R. W. Witt Gallery

The gallery was named after former art professor who passed away of multiple sclerosis.


Brittney Delgado - The State Hornet

R. W. Witt gallery is an undergraduate art exhibit for students to showcase their work. The gallery is located at Kadema Hall and is open Monday to Friday 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Brittney Delgado

The R. W. Witt Gallery is a student ran gallery named after former Sacramento State professor Raymond “Woody” Witt that showcases new works of art every Thursday.

Witt died from multiple sclerosis in 1973, according to the Find A Grave website.

Witt had plans to retire with his wife Joyce Witt to a home in Mendocino, Calif., but was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1972 and died a year later. After he died, Joyce took her own life, according to the website.

Art professor Elaine O’Brien wrote in an email that the gallery has operated since Kadema Hall was built in 1962 and later gained the name in memory of Witt. However, the art department plans on changing the gallery’s name.

“We are planning to rename the gallery the Raymond and Joyce Witt Gallery, because it was Joyce who gave the estate to our students on her death in 1974,” O’Brien wrote.

Every Thursday, an undergraduate student is given the opportunity by the art department and Gallery Committee to showcase their artwork for a week and provide a reception for the public to see their exhibit.

Two weeks ago, Shixiang Huang, an art major at Sac State showcased his work at the Witt Gallery. His expertise is in painting and drawing, but specializes in using watercolor.

The name of the exhibition was “Ming,” which Huang described as blindness and light, the sun and the moon.

“It’s kind of like yin yang which relates to my art, the sides being the Western culture and the Eastern,” Huang said.

The paintings showcased women wearing Chinese traditional dresses while also wearing Nike Air Max 1’s.

“I moved from China three years ago [to the U.S.] — these pieces are about how Western culture got into Asia and how people would wear more Western makeup which gave me the idea to create these artworks,” Huang said.

Huang submitted his application to have his work exhibited last spring semester. Applications are due towards the end of every spring semester to be considered for the following academic year.

Along with the application, the artist has to submit samples of their work to be considered for display and an artist statement. Once all of the steps have been completed, a studio art professor who sponsors your show, then approves it and gets reviewed by the Gallery Committee.

Carolyn Gibbs, Sac State’s department of art chair, said any student can apply to have their work shown in the gallery.

“Any student is eligible to propose a show to be displayed for one week over at the Witt,” Gibbs said. “There is typically a reception in which the artist invites the public, including their family and friends, to see their work.”

Although it is a student-run gallery, the department provides assistance, teaching students how to prepare the gallery for a show as well as dismantle it. Students also get help with marketing for the show and talking to the public about their work. However, it is up to the students to run the reception and be available during the hours the gallery is open.

Art student Mattie Childress, 21, said they attend the gallery every week. Childress likes to come in and support friends and new artists showcasing their work. Childress is a good friend of Huang and said they know how much work he put into this gallery.

“It’s really nice to help support friends and be there for them, plus the receptions are the funnest part of the show,” Childress said.

Childress said they get a variety of students who visit the gallery. Many of the visitors are art students but many viewers are a mix of other majors.

“It’s convenient that it’s [the gallery] right by the breeze way. A lot of people stop by to see the art,”  Childress said.

Childress said that some visitors come to get credit for a class, but others come out of interest in what is being showcased.

“A lot of people do frequent the gallery. It usually ranges between the 30s to the 50s of people that actually come in and that’s usually daily,” Childress said. “Usually with receptions they mention the free food and everyone is like ‘Oh free food! Well, then of course I’ll come.’ That’s usually the attention grabber.”

Receptions are on Thursday evenings to view the exhibition and meet the artist. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.