University of Central Florida Art Gallery
Backstory and Context
The UCF Art Gallery is located on the north side of the UCF campus at 12400 Aquarius Agora Dr. in the Visual Arts Building (VAB) 140. The VAB is the home of the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD). SVAD offers the Art B.A. concentrations of Art History, Illustration, Painting, Sculpture, and Type and Design, and offers B.F.A. programs in Graphic Design and Experimental Animation tracks, and Studio Art. The building has two floors, a 454-seat auditorium and almost 70,000 square feet, making sufficient space for art studios, classrooms and lecture halls, as well as space for displaying any artwork.
The art gallery contributes a spark for visual art experiences, tutelage, and cultural engagement. Their purpose is to support associations between students, staff, members of the community, and fellow artists by providing a framework for creative review. The gallery also hosts exhibitions that observe cultural and social contexts. The UCF Art Gallery is also a donation site for the Knights Helping Knights Pantry. It is a student driven program that focuses on helping those UCF students who are in need.
Founded in 1974, the UCF Art Gallery has since continued to evolve and adapt throughout its history. With over 200 exhibitions and art featuring an abundancy of artists throughout the world, the gallery reflects the wide-ranging vision that makes the university a wonderful success within Central Florida. Today, the gallery continues to incorporate a diverse approach to the studies, conservation, demonstration, and interpretation of art in its various forms. The School of Visual Arts and Design affirms that a theoretical and working understanding of the historical meanings and studio applications of the human image are critical in the education of Visual Art and Art History students. To develop such an understanding, art courses often utilize images of clothed and unclothed human figures and, in certain studio classes, live nude models.
One important figure in the UCF Art Gallery is Johann Eyfells. Eyfells, who considered himself as more of an experimental chemist than a sculptor, was one of the founders of the art department of formerly FTU (Florida Technical University) in 1969. He became a key inspiration on the generation of artists that studied him at that period. Eyfells would continue to work at UCF for 30 years until retiring in 1999. Eyfells also participated in a 10-day art event in 1972 during the Olympics in Munich, Germany. He joined FTU art professor Dr. Walter Gaudnek and the art faculty and in the end helped received a commission from the Olympic Spielstrasse Committee. One of his sculptures can be found near the front entrance of the Visual Arts Building. An article about the public art on UCF’s campus described it as “an outdoor sculpture from the early years of the UCF Art Department has just been installed near the Visual Arts Building. The cast concrete and aluminum work from the 1970s is believed to be a collaborative piece by UCF Professor Johann Eyfells and his students. The sculpture was near the former Colbourn Hall building (the home of the Art Department) and required relocation before the building was demolished. With the support of the SVAD Faculty and approval of the University Master Planning Committee, the art was moved to the grounds of the Visual Arts Building.”. The sculpture signifies the lasting legacy he had cemented in legitimizing in the school’s Visual Art and Design program.
“Remembering Johann Eyfells.” CAH News, news.cah.ucf.edu/news/remembering-johann-eyfells/?dept=81.
“Visual Arts Building.” University of Central Florida, www.ucf.edu/location/visual-arts-building/.
“Fifty Years of Photos: University of Central Florida 50th Anniversary.” UCF 50th Anniversary, www.ucf.edu/50/50-years-of-photos/.
“About the Gallery.” UCF Art Gallery, gallery.cah.ucf.edu/gallery-info/.