The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus recently unveiled a $35,000 renovation, including changes to the walls, display platforms and storage areas, and the installation of a new projection software system.
The gallery, located on the second floor of the Home Economics Building at 35th and Holdrege streets, closed at the end of April for a month-long renovation that saw the removal of all of the carpet-like fabric wall covering, which was replaced with Sheetrock. The entire gallery was painted.
The gallery’s staging room was also renovated, with the removal of cupboards and a kitchen sink-and-counter ensemble that had been inadequate to the storage and usage needs of the 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 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 debuted June 5 with a preview of textile artist Elin Noble’s installation “Vox Stellarum,” which includes a complementary video produced by Noble and Michael Burton, assistant professor of practice in UNL’s textiles, merchandising and fashion design program.
“This renovation will allow us much more creativity in how we design exhibit installations in the Hillestad Gallery,” said Michael James, chair of textiles, merchandising and fashion design, 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 and support from private donors through the University of Nebraska Foundation was instrumental in making the gallery’s new look possible. 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,” James said.