UTC’s Institute of Contemporary Art Hosts Its Opening Exhibition

By Mary Kate Sheppard, Staff Writer—

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Fine Arts Center and the Cress Gallery were displaced for several years due to renovation, but that changed in 2021 with the opening of the new Institute of Contemporary Art on campus. 

The Cress Gallery has called the UTC campus its home for a while now, providing a place for students to display the products of their artistic talent. However, starting this year, UTC is adding another place to display and appreciate that art in the form of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). 

The ICA is the first of its kind in the state, and is headed up by the UTC Art Department and Rachel Reese, who acts as the director and curator for the institute.  

“Opening the ICA is an opportunity to stake a claim here in Chattanooga,” Reese said. “We had an opportunity to create an institution that includes Cress Gallery and reaches out into the community as well.” 

Reese also mentioned that the ICA has plans to work with other community and state groups to make an art presence in Chattanooga. 

The ICA is currently hosting its inaugural exhibition entitled “Home.” 

This exhibition highlights 12 artists who all have direct connections to Chattanooga. Some are group shows while others are personal ventures, but all the pieces relate to the Chattanooga community. 

The 12 featured artists include Jeff Whetstone, Reed Schick, Dylan Pew, Andrew O’brien, Raquel Mullins, Tane Hopper, Lenka Clayton, Philip Andrew Lewis, Amanda Brazier, Marc Boyson, Mark Bennett and the Glass House Collective. 

The “Home” exhibition is not limited to the Chattanooga area that all these artists call home. The various artists interpreted the word “home” in different ways, from the physical place, to the people that make Chattanooga home, to what home means to them and to how Covid-19 has altered that idea of home. 

This is just the inaugural exhibition. The ICA has many more shows and events planned for 2021 and the coming years. The next planned show begins March 1 and will showcase student art. 

“The future of ICA is exciting to think about,” Reese said “I’m ready to start working with other departments and students on campus as well as other community programs. I believe we can build a presence for contemporary artists.” 

The Institute of Contemporary Art is located at 725 Vine St. in UTC’s Fine Arts Center and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Attendance is free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *