The Sweeney Art Gallery is an artistic laboratory that engages diverse audiences with exhibitions and programs that are committed to experimentation, innovation, and the exploration of art in our time. The Sweeney places a special emphasis on inspiring projects that explore new ideas and materials and re-envision the relationship between art and life. Established on the University of California-Riversideís campus in 1963, the Sweeney moved to UCR ARTSblock in April of 2006 and plays a special role in contributing to the artistic spirit of the campus and the community at large. At the center of the Gallery's mission is an appreciation for the role of artists developing the intellectual and cultural life of society.
Sweeney Art Gallery’s New Location
Sweeney unveiled its new gallery location to the public in the new UCR Culver Center of the Arts during a gala event October 7-9, 2010. The gallery and staff moved at the end of April from their past location, just two doors down on the Main Street pedestrian mall, into the new, three-story Culver Center, housed in the renovated, 19th Century Rouse Department Store located next to the UCR/California Museum of Photography. In the Culver Center, Sweeney’s programming will expand by presenting exhibitions in its own gallery and in the heart of the Culver’s two-story, 2,000-sq. ft. atrium.
UCR Sweeney Art Gallery first opened on campus in 1963. Located at Olmstead Hall, its first exhibition examined the work of the 19th-century American landscape painter Thomas Moran, and was reviewed in the New York Times. In 1978, the gallery moved on campus to the Watkins house where it had many exhibits. Notable ones include the groundbreaking Bas Jan Ader Retrospective (1999) and Past Modern: The Singh Twins (2003).
In 2006, UCR Sweeney Art Gallery moved to a new location in downtown Riverside at 3800 Main Street. While there, it presented many solo and group exhibitions that have contributed scholarship to the field, have received international attention, and have made a conscious effort to be a bridge between the campus and community. Some of the highlights include Gabriela León: Sunday Walk to the Zocalo of Oaxaca (2007), The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez (2008), Absurd Recreation: Contemporary Art from China (2008), Your Donations Do Our Work: Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy (2009), Uncovered: A Pageant of Hip Hop Masters (2009), Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art (2009), and Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map: An Interdisciplinary Response (2010). When it reopens in October within the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, the gallery will continue with its adventuresome programming and engagement with the community, beginning with Re:Cycle—Bike Culture in Southern California.
Tyler Stallings, director of UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, says, “Once in the Culver, Sweeney’s programming will expand significantly by including more performing arts, screenings, and large-scale installations, all to be presented in its own gallery plus in the heart of the Culver: a wo-story, 2000 square foot atrium.” Both the Culver and Sweeney will open to the public during Gala events from October 7th to the 9th.