Indiana Daily Student

SoFA Gallery honored as ‘best arts attraction’

Gallery brings contemporary art to city

Along with works of art ranging from war photographs to art about sex, the SoFA Gallery now has one more thing to hang on its wall.

The Bloomington/Monroe County Convention and Visitors Bureau awarded the SoFA Gallery a Hospitality Award on May 14 for 2009’s “Best Arts/Entertainment Attraction.”

The Hospitality Awards are annual awards given in conjunction with National Tourism Week, an industry-wide celebration of the importance of tourism to the economy.

In addition to bringing sculpture and artwork about sex to Bloomington, the School of Fine Arts Gallery is also bringing tourists.

Mike McAfee, executive director of the convention and visitors bureau, said visitors spend $250 million annually in the Bloomington area, and the SoFA Gallery is one of the attractions they are coming to see.

“It’s sitting here in Bloomington, but it could very well be in New York or London or Paris,” McAfee said. “People flock from all over to see it. It’s what makes Bloomington so unique: the culture.”

Megan Abajian, the public-relations specialist for the SoFA Gallery, said the gallery was honored to receive the award.

“We are very proud and pleased, and we will continue to strive to bring innovative and engaging exhibitions to the University and the community,” Abajian said.

Though the gallery, in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, is part of the University, it also plays a role within the greater community.

“We basically try to be the contemporary-art facility for Bloomington,” Abajian said. “We present certain things in an educational format, and who we are educating isn’t just students. It’s the public as a whole as to what may be going on currently in the art scene.”

This spring, the gallery showed works of art in a variety of media, including printmaking, ceramics, graphic design and photography.

Shows featuring the work of students graduating with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in fine arts were also presented. The current exhibit is the Kinsey Institute’s Juried Art Show.

Abajian said the award is an affirmation that the gallery is serving its intended purpose.

“We’ve always strived to have a standard bringing in contemporary-art exhibitions to Bloomington and also showcasing student work,” Abajian said. “So if anything, this just confirms that we’re on track and we are servicing the community as well as the University and that people enjoy the shows that we are bringing in.”

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