The Robert Hillestad Gallery Gets Major Makeover

The Robert Hillestad Gallery Gets Major Makeover

07 Jun 2016     By Michael James

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery closed its doors at the end of April for a month-long renovation that saw the removal of all of the carpet-like fabric wall covering and its replacement with sheetrock, and the painting of the entire gallery. In addition, the gallery’s staging room was likewise renovated, with the removal of wall-mounted cupboards and a corresponding kitchen sink and counter ensemble that had long been inadequate to the storage and usage needs of that back-of-house area.  Large open shelving now accommodates most of the materials and tools used in prepping exhibitions. Storage for reception-related materials used by the Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery was reconfigured and a new hallway door installed that offers easier access to Friends volunteers. The previously off-white carpeted mannequin display platforms were also refaced with an easy-to-clean laminate surface in a dark tone that will help them blend better with the gallery’s black carpet.

In the final stage of the renovation a new projection software system called ProPresenter 6 was installed by technicians from CCS Presentation Systems Midwest. The software allows for seamless and nearly wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling video and still image projection that will offer creative opportunities to exhibitors and a more dynamic experience for gallery visitors. The system debuts this week with the opening of textile artist Elin Noble’s installation Vox Stellarum, that includes a complementary video produced collaboratively by Noble and Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design (TMFD) faculty member Michael Burton.

“This renovation will allow us much more creativity in how we design exhibit installations in the Hillestad Gallery,” said Michael James, TMFD’s chair and acting gallery director. “We look forward to being able to use both wall color and lighting in more dramatic and dynamic ways to enhance the theme of a particular show and the viewer's experience.”

A grant from the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation as well as support from private donors through the NU Foundation was instrumental in making possible the gallery’s new “look.” Ongoing support from the Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery also contributed to the project, as did funding from TMFD’s operating budget. “We’re very grateful for all of the support we’ve received from our many constituents and we are eager to exploit these enhancements to improve our exhibition programming,” said James.

Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
College of Education and Human Sciences