With the wrecking ball coming for UTD’s Art Barn any day now, students and artists on Monday mounted one final installation inside the iconic arts space. You Are the Face of Art features photographic portraits of people who felt some connection to the longtime home of the university’s art program, enlarged, printed, and hung on the walls of the building.
Megan Zerez, who helped put the project together, writes in an email:
We invited anyone whose life had been touched by this building in some way to send in portraits. We had about 300 submissions coming from people of all walks of life: students, musicians, artists, engineers, scientists, educators, small time politicians, actors, curators, you name it. For these people and countless others, the barn is more than a leaky old eyesore, it’s a second home, a refuge, a meeting place, an incubator for new, powerful ideas. We wanted to lend some gravitas to the university’s decision to demolish. We hope that this piece can help the university’s decision makers see what we see in the Art Barn: the community. These are the faces of those who have made the Art Barn into the invaluable place it is today, and they will stand witness to its demise.
About 50 people gathered this week to put up the photos. Organizers of the project include Zerez, Greg Metz, Maryam Baig, Denise Lion, and Lori Robertson Snyder. Since being told of the Art Barn’s end, visual arts students have been promised an off-campus gallery space and the better part of a new building, Zerez says. The “leaky old eyesore” soon to be demolished may be irreplaceable, but if You Are the Face of Art proves anything, it’s that the community it fostered should endure.