University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Sweeney Art Gallery Closed for Move

Sweeney Art Gallery Closed for Move

UCR’s popular gallery in downtown Riverside will reopen in the nearly completed Culver Center of the Arts in the ARTSblock Oct. 7.

(February 23, 2010)

Culver Center of the Arts atrium under renovation.Enlarge

Culver Center of the Arts atrium under renovation.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery has closed its ARTSblock location in downtown Riverside and will reopen in October in the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, also located in the ARTSblock in the 3800 block of Main Street.

The gallery will begin moving in early spring into the new, three-story Culver Center, which will be housed in a renovated, late 19th century department store located next to the UCR/California Museum of Photography.

“It’s always been the plan, since the conception of the Culver Center, to move the Sweeney Art Gallery there,” said Tyler Stallings, gallery director. “Once in the Culver Center, Sweeney’s programming will expand significantly by including more performing arts, screenings, and large-scale installations, all to be presented in its own gallery in the heart of the Culver Center’s two-story, 2,000-square-foot atrium.”

The Culver Center will open to the public during gala events Oct. 7-9. Until then, Stallings said, the Sweeney will continue to program with the continuation of its yearlong collaboration with the UC Institute for Research in the Arts on “Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map,” by organizing the senior thesis and M.F.A. thesis exhibitions in the spring at UCR’s California Museum of Photography, and with a series of preview events leading up to the October gala.

The Sweeney Art Gallery first opened on campus in Olmstead Hall in 1963. 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 Watkins House.

It moved again in 2006 to 3800 Main St., to what has become known as the UCR ARTSblock in downtown Riverside, next to the UCR/California Museum of Photography. It became the second member of the UCR ARTSblock consortium, which will include the Culver Center of the Arts.

“While in its current downtown location, it has 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,” Stallings said. 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), and “Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art” (2009).

When it opens in October, the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts will be an interactive art facility housed in the renovated Rouse Building, an 1895 department store.

“The Culver Center will extend the vitality and community interactivity of UCR/California Museum of Photography and Sweeney Art Gallery by providing new exhibition space; an 80-seat film and video screening room; an atrium gallery for installation, music, and performance under a magnificent 40-foot-high, naturally illuminated clerestory monitor; a public café; a new home for the UCR/CMP’s world-treasure Keystone-Mast glass plate stereo collection; and an advanced faculty and student research Media Lab,” said Jonathan Green, UCR ARTSblock executive director.

The lower level basement facilities of the Culver Center devoted to collections, preservation and support are essential to the archival stability and long-term administration of ARTSblock, Green said. The expanded research and archival collection of UCR/CMP will be housed in this area where it will be much more easily accessible. Here, because of support from a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant, the world-famous Keystone-Mast glass negatives will be housed in seismically stable conditions. Additional support spaces include a fabrication workshop, a conservation room, administrative offices, and materials storage. The Culver Center will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology systems.

When the two, side-by-side buildings that house the California Museum of Photography and the Culver Center of the Arts are considered collectively under UCR ARTSblock, they constitute the third largest arts organization in the UC system after Berkeley Art Museum and UCLA’s Hammer Museum, according to Green. Additionally, in all of California’s 10-campus UC system and 23-campus CSU system ARTSblock is one of less than a handful of museums that is located off-campus, which places it in a unique position to be a bridge between campus and community, he said.

Exhibition and event schedule for Sweeney Art Gallery:

March 5-7: “Dry Immersion 3 from Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map: An Interdisciplinary Response.”
Building on a University of California organized artists’ retreat held at the Boyd Deep Canyon Nature Reserve in February 2008, some 65 artists and scholars gathered one weekend the following October for “Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map,” a roaming workshop called the “Dry Immersion Roving Symposium” in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of Southeastern California. The three-day event, organized by the UC Institute for Research in the Arts and UC Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery, included talks, performances at the Palms Bar and Restaurant and tours of the 29 Palms Marine Base, Wonder Valley homesteads, the Integratoon, Ecoshack, Noah Purifoy’s sculpture garden in Joshua Tree, Benjamin Bottoms’ Neon Sign museum and the dune and oasis systems of Palm Desert.

April 24-May 15: M.F.A. Thesis 2010. Reception Saturday, April 24, 6-9 p.m. This will be the fourth graduating class from UCR’s Department of Art Master of Fine Arts program. Presenting the M.F.A. Thesis exhibition at Sweeney is distinctive because it is the only graduating student exhibition in Southern California presented in an off-campus, public setting on a regular basis. Raising the bar of professionalism through such a public presentation not only assists the students in their future careers, but also brings attention to how UC Riverside views art as a unique and important intersection between campus and community.

May 28-June 12: Senior Thesis 2010. Reception Friday, May 28, 6-9 p.m. Every year, nearly 30 undergraduate art majors have their final work presented in a senior thesis exhibition at the Sweeney Art Gallery that features paintings, photographs, drawings, videos, performance and sculpture.

May-September: First Thursday ArtsWalk Events. UCR Sweeney Art Gallery will organize a variety of live events on the downtown pedestrian mall in front of the UCR Culver Center of the Arts. They will include spoken word, dance, theater, and readings. Events will occur during Riverside’s First Thursday ArtsWalks from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 5, June 3, July 1, August 5, and September 2. Organized by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, and curated by assistant director, Shane Shukis.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links