Student exhibitions are complemented by six professional displays in the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery each year; these exhibitions reflect larger issues in the study of art and design, as well as the cultural diversity that is San Jose State. These exhibitions provide a direct link to the curricula of the Department of Art and Art History, to the College of Humanities and the Arts, and more broadly, to the development of a broad understanding of culture and the arts for every member of the San Jose State University community and its surrounding public.
Exhibitions for the Thompson Gallery are generally developed through discussions between the Gallery Director and the Professors within the Department of Art and Art History, so as to ensure that curated projects specifically respond to and complement academic curricula. Working in concert with the faculty and profiting from their wide experiences and connections has enabled the Thompson Gallery to cast a broader and deeper net when conceptualizing and implementing exhibition projects. The results have been impressive, ranging from cutting edge work by emerging artists utilizing the latest technologies to retrospectives of some of the grand masters of American art; we are proud that, despite our small space, we have been able to organize national tours of certain of our exhibition projects, publish ground-breaking monographs, and win awards for curatorial research and catalogue design. In addition to the broader-based curatorial emphasis, we also produce periodic alumni exhibitions, and each year feature a rotating display of work by faculty members in different program areas so that students can become aware of the professional work of their instructors.
The Student Galleries include seven individual galleries that may be used for object-based or process/time-oriented installations, performances, and displays. These are supplemented with numerous display cases, wall areas, and mural spaces that serve as a showcase and educational forum for students, both individually and as part of class projects. With exhibitions changing weekly in the Student Galleries and supplementary display areas, over 200 exhibits of student artwork are presented every year.