MC 1412

Inventory to the Center/Gallery Records, 1977-1991

By Phylicia Dolcy

November 2011

Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Finding aid encoded in EAD, version 2002 by Phylicia Dolcy, November 2011
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.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Center/Gallery
Title: Center/Gallery Records
Dates: 1977-1991
Quantity: 1 cubic foot (1 manuscript box)
Abstract: 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.
Collection No.: MC 1412
Language: English
Repository: Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives

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.

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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.

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Name and Subject Tracings

Researchers can facilitate access to related materials in other collections by searching the Rutgers University Libraries' online public catalog and other union catalogs under the following index terms used for people, organizations, and subjects represented in these papers.

Personal Names

Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988
Below, Max
Evans, Minnie, 1892-1987
Gillespie, Dorothy, 1920-
Holsenbeck, Bryant
Irwin, Kim
Lippard, Lucy R.
Menache, Jacques
Roberts, Marilyn Gottlieb
Shannon, Joseph
Shapiro, Miriam
Spero, Nancy, 1926-2009
Stevens, May

Corporate Names

Art Center (Carrboro, N.C.)
North Carolina Arts Council
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (Winston-Salem, N.C.)


Art -- Study and education
Art -- Women -- 20th century
Carrboro (N.C.)
Chapel Hill (N.C.)
Feminism -- United States -- History -- 20th Century
Performance art -- Art, Modern -- America -- 20th Century
Women artists -- North Carolina -- Exhibitions

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Center/Gallery Records. MC 1412. Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.

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Detailed Description of the Records/Container List

This section provides descriptions of the materials found within each series. Each series description is followed by a container list, which gives the titles of the "containers" (for example, folders, volumes, or cassettes) and their locations in the numbered boxes that comprise the collection. The availability of any digital items from a container is indicated with a hyperlink.

Box Folder
1 1 Egg, Vol. 1 (Spring 1978) (collection of poetry, journal writings etc)
2 Newsletters, calendar, mailings, February 1, 1980 - December 31, 1980
3 Newsletters, calendar, mailings, January 1, 1981 - December 12, 1981
4 Newsletters, calendar, mailings, December 30, 1981 - September 11, 1982
5 Newsletters, calendar, July 26, 1983 - December 10, 1983
6 Newsletters, calendar, January 1, 1984 - January 5, 1985
7 Newsletters, calendar, December 30, 1984 - May 31, 1985
8 Newsletters, calendar, January 26, 1986 - December 31, 1986
9 Newsletters, calendar, February 1, 1987 - October 31, 1987
10 Newsletter, calendar, notice, January 1988
11 Brief History and Exhibits, 1977 – 1986
12 Articles of Incorporation and tax exempt status
13 Bylaws, October 9, 1980 and January 1986
14 Certificates North Carolina Museums Council, 1984- 1986
15 Highlighted Chronology, Spring 1977 - August 16, 1991
16 Statement of Purpose
17 Membership Forms
18 Rough Chronology, Spring 1977 – July 16, 1980
19 Photographs First Center/Gallery exhibit at Carla Ethier’s studio, October 1977
20 Exhibit Schedule, October 22, 1978 - February 23, 1979
21 Photographs International Dinner Party Celebration, March 14, 1979
22 Correspondence, October 27, 1978 - February 2, 1979
23 Clippings, December 22, 1978 - August 12, 1979
24 Flyers and announcements, October 19, 1977 - August 5, 1979
25 Clippings, flyers, floor plan, September 9, 1979 - April 1980
26 Clippings, flyers, ads, photos, April 1980 - June 1980
27 Clippings, flyers, June 1980 - December 1980
28 Clippings, flyers, January 1981 - October 1981
29 Clippings, flyers, October 1981 - October 1982
30 Clippings, flyers, oversized poster, October 1982 - December 1982
31 Clippings, flyers, exhibit and sale information, January 1983 - May 1983
32 Artists’ Statements “Then and Now,” May 5, 1983 - May 9, 1983
33 Clippings, flyers, photos of Christmas exhibits, June 1983 - December 1983
34 Clippings and flyers, January 1984 – April 1984
35 Clippings and flyers, May 1984 – November 1984
36 Clippings, flyers and price list, November 1984 – March 1985
37 Clippings, flyers, artists’ quotes, competition program, price lists and juror’s statement, April 1985 – May 1985
38 Clippings, flyers and invitations, May 1985
39 “Gathering Evidence” exhibits, instructions, and photos, Nielsen Television research instructions, May 1985
40 Clippings and flyers, June 1985 – February 1986
41 Clippings, flyers, and competition information, February 1986 – May 1986
42 Clippings and flyers, July 1986 – February 1987
43 Clippings and flyers photo of Joe Shannon, January 1987 – October 1987
44 Clippings and flyers merger with Art Center, January 1988 – May 1988
45 Clippings, flyers, and workshop schedule, July 1988 – September 1988
46 Six (or Seven) Artists from Buenos Aires, November 1989 – December 1989
47 Clippings, flyers, juried show programs, and photos, December 1989 – April 1990
48 Clippings and flyers, April 1990 – August 1990
49 Clippings and flyers, September 1990 – June 1991
50 Clippings, flyers and “A Seasoned View” program, June 1991 – July 1991
51 Report on Center/Gallery, July 1, 1979 - December 31, 1979
52 Artists Spaces Grant - National Endowment of the Arts, 1980 - 1982
53 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, April 11, 1979 - December 31, 1981
54 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, 1981 - 1982
55 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, 1983
56 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, 1984
57 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, 1985
58 North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program, 1986 - 1988
59 Orange County’s Grassroots Arts Program, 1979 - 1980
60 Orange County’s Grassroots Arts Program, 1980 - 1981
61 Orange County’s Grassroots Arts Program, 1981 - 1982
62 Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc Grant, March 12, 1979 - February 6, 1981
63 Grants for DANSYNC, 1983