Hundreds of UF College of the Arts alumni, supporters and longtime friends of the college and of UF alumnus Gary R. Libby gathered at the School of Art + Art History on Sept. 18, 2015 for the dedication of the Gary R. Libby Gallery. The dedication was held in conjunction with the opening reception of the school’s inaugural alumni invitational exhibition, Image, Object and Idea, in University Gallery.
Previously known as Focus Gallery, the Gary R. Libby Gallery is one of the school’s three on-campus art galleries. The 850-square-foot gallery is located adjacent to the lobby of the School of Art + Art History’s Fine Art Building C and presents student-curated exhibitions as well as a range of other curated exhibitions designed to stimulate interest in broad areas within the arts.
Director emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, Libby is an author, curator and national and regional cultural leader. Libby has also published widely including four books on Florida art. He is a noted educator having taught at Stetson University, Tulane University and the University of Florida. He has also served as a guest lecturer at museums and universities throughout the state. He is a past Florida Arts Council board member and past president of the Florida Art Museum Directors Association, receiving their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. At the reception, he was honored for his philanthropy and ongoing support of University Galleries.
Among the special guests were members of the founding board of the Gallery Guild Art Society as well as UF President W. Kent Fuchs and Linda Fuchs. Linda Fuchs spoke, thanking Libby for his extraordinary gift to UF’s students, the university as a whole and the furtherance of the arts represented by his support of the University Galleries.
“Many students have gained valuable experience curating exhibitions and learning about museum administration in the University Galleries,” said Linda Fuchs. “These students have gone on to successful careers at galleries and museums throughout the country.”
Fuchs continued, “The Gary R. Libby Gallery will expand that legacy by providing students of art, art history and museum studies with hands-on opportunities to develop and use their skills and knowledge to bring art before a broader public.”
The reception also included remarks by Roy Hunt, Libby and University Galleries Director Amy Vigilante. Several arts leaders from throughout Florida who were unable to attend shared their congratulatory thoughts prior to the event, including Sherron Long, president of Florida Cultural Alliance.
“If anyone in our state deserves an art gallery named in his honor, it's Gary Libby,” Long said. “His years of commitment and hard work to keep Florida's arts' industry moving forward deserves applause and our deepest gratitude. Congratulations to Gary on this meaningful and extremely deserving recognition.”
Libby thanked the attendees, colleagues and friends from around the state who gathered in Gainesville for the dedication by reminiscing about his personal relationship with the University of Florida and its transformational role in his life and career.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to continue to be involved with the exceptional work being done at the School of Art and Art History in the College of the Arts,” said Libby. “After all, it is exactly where I began my career in the arts over 50 years ago.”
To view photos from the reception, click here.