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Identifier: MC 1412

Center/Gallery Records


  • 1977-1991

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the administrative records of Center/Gallery date between 1980 and 1990. These are organized into folders by date, with newsletters, calendars, and mailings kept together. A historical timeline, statement of purpose, and articles of incorporation are separately foldered. One copy of the literary magazine, Egg vol. 1, Spring 1978 is also included as the original order of these records had it with the administrative materials.

The next section contains newspaper clippings of reviews of the exhibits and individual artists work, reactions to workshops, general advertising flyers for exhibits and sales, mailings that went to members advertising events held at Center/Gallery, exhibit floor plans, and some photographs of events. Most of the clippings are from local papers. These are arranged by date and left in original order.

The final section contains the grant seeking efforts of Center/Gallery. The folders contain the applications, which are comprised of financial reports, advertising, and plans for usage of grant money. Mid year reports to the grant giving agencies are included, which are comprised of financial information and detail the successes of the programming made possible by the grant. There is a limited amount of correspondence between Center/Gallery and the agencies, mostly clarification on application procedures and letters of thanks to the funders. These grants are organized alphabetically, and then the grant information is organized chronologically. This was a small shift from the original order, which had the materials entirely chronologically. However since most of the grants came from two agencies, the separation interrupted the flow of correspondence.


1 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the administrative papers of the women's art gallery, Center/Gallery. The folders contain the newsletters, calendars, meeting minutes, bylaws, budgets, and grant seeking applications of the organization. A significant portion of the collection contains newspaper clippings, flyers, and advertisements for the various exhibits, workshops, and sales held there. A limited amount of photographs are available for specific events.

Administrative History

Center/Gallery was a non-profit, all volunteer, artist-run organization in North Carolina. Very much a part of the Women's Movement; it was founded to support development and rights of women artists and create a climate of experimentation. This was to be achieved in two ways: a Center where artists can share ideas and learn from each other and a Gallery to showcase contemporary art and host educational programs to join artist and community.

The inspiration for this project came in the spring of 1977, when the New York art critic and historian Lucy Lippard spoke at the University of North Carolina Fine Arts Festival on women in art. A group of local women came together to talk about art; many of them were solo artists with little support, feedback and limited opportunities to show their work. In the summer of 1977, thirteen women organized and chartered Center/Gallery, a women's shared space for artistic resources. By the end of 1978 the group had grown to sixty members and obtained a small gallery space on Ransom Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina and a regular schedule of exhibits began. Miriam Shapiro and Nancy Spero visited and provided inspiration.

Mid 1979, they received a one-time grant for programming and operations from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. This was followed by a North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Grant. These allowed for the expansion of the organization into a new space on Main Street, Carrboro, North Carolina. Center/Gallery was holding an exhibition and a program every month as well as external shows and with outside invitations. Fundraising intensified.

After a bylaws change in 1980, men were allowed to join as active members. Gallery hours expanded and members' works were being showcased across North Carolina.

In 1982 Center/Gallery sponsored its first biennial exhibition of local Black artists. In 1984 the exhibit was accompanied by the work of Minnie Evans, and in 1986 Romare Bearden's works were featured. The first annual juried show was also held in 1984, with Dorothy Gillespie as juror. May Stevens selected the works and gave a talk on her works, sponsored by Center/Gallery and University of North Carolina Art Department. Nancy Spero juried the 1986 competition followed by an exhibit of her own work.

Center/Gallery also sponsored performance art, "Birthdays" by Kaola Allen, Bryant Holsenbeck and Kim Irwin, a series by Max Below, and a two week residency and interactive event by Marilyn Gottlieb Roberts, "Gathering Evidence."

1987 marks the beginning of Center/Gallery with Art Center and negotiations begin with their director Jacques Menache to affiliate with them. The last Center/Gallery exhibit at the 118-A East Main Street Carrboro North Carolina was held between February 5-28, 1988 when the groups merged. Exhibits, programming and potlucks occurred through 1991.

Inventory to the Center/Gallery Records
Edited Full Draft
Phylicia Dolcy
November 2011
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.