University Gallery at UF renamed in honor of Gary Libby, alumnus and donor

The University Gallery of the University of Florida is changing its name.

The space, located on the main Gainesville campus across from the School of Art + Art History, will be officially recognized as Gary R. Libby University Gallery in December, according to an online announcement from UF.

Libby, a 77-year-old UF alumnus and philanthropist who has been a school donor for over 20 years, said he was honored with this recognition and plans to continue supporting students, faculty and scholars. arts to move forward.

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“It was such a shock to me. I was incredibly surprised. It was almost like a stroke of luck,” he said. “I walked in there as a student, and now my name is going to be on the building.”

Gary R. Libby.  (Photo courtesy University of Florida)

As a 17-year-old undergraduate student at UF in the 1960s, said Libby, exploring the new university gallery was a pivotal moment and one of her first exhibitions of serious art. .

Libby said he came to college on a golf scholarship and plans to study law or medicine. But he quickly found his true passions with English literature and art history.

Libby received her BA and MA in English Literature from UF, as well as an MA in English Literature from Tulane University in New Orleans. After completing everything except a doctoral dissertation, he took up an assistant professor position in arts and humanities at Stetson University.

He then worked as the Executive Director of the Daytona Beach Arts and Science Museum for over 25 years and is now the museum’s first director emeritus. Libby is also a published author of several books on art, such as the award winning “Cuba: A History in Art”.

During a phone call with The Sun on Monday, Libby said he had donated a substantial amount of money to UF over the years, amounting to more than six figures, although he didn’t did not specify an exact number.

Some of the things he has funded include writing awards for art history students, national and international travel, and an internship experience where students select, organize and set up an exhibition in one of the smaller ones. UF galleries on campus, also named after Libby.

He also donated to scholarships in hopes of helping young graduates without debt.

“For me, it’s money well spent,” said the former student. “This is something I have done and which I hope will benefit students in perpetuity for a long time to come.”

Dean Onye Ozuzu, UF College of the Arts, said she wanted the public to feel inspired by Libby’s professional and philanthropic contributions to art and art history. . She hopes they will appreciate how her support will benefit not only UF, but the community, state and region of Gainesville for generations.

“When members of our society have the opportunity to leave an impact on the legacy that will reverberate long after they leave, when someone like that makes the choice to leave their mark in art, I think they do. its mark for the human imagination and the human ability to … create a future beyond the world we have created so far. “

The newly appointed gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. It is located at 400 SW 13th St. in the Beaux-Arts building.

His current exhibition, “Plural Domains: Selected Works from the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Collection”, is presented simultaneously with the Harn Museum of Art and the smaller Gary R. Libby Gallery and will be open until December 3.

The exhibition presents multidisciplinary Latin American contemporary art created by 31 artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, according to its description online.

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