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posted on 09.30.09

The Experiential Gallery's self-described mission is "to encourage

  1. the exploration of creative uses of technology in the arts,

  2. the development of critical and creative thinking skills, and

  3. the building of content-area knowledge"

It most certainly accomplishes the goal. The collection of pieces was originally housed in the Taubman Museum in downtown Roanoke.  Since then, a team of faculty, staff, and students have migrated the show to it's new home: The Experiential Gallery located in the Kent Square building on the edge of downtown Blacksburg (VA).

The Gallery had it's opening on September 23rd and it was a definite success.  It drew a crowd and was able to keep them there for hours due to the pure amount of interaction the audience is able to experience with the art itself.

The show is comprised of a combination of audio/visual/digital pieces.  Included in this are:

Dome Garden.  It "is beautiful exploration of smaller worlds. Through the use of a motion-detecting camera, visitors will bring to life “bots” that follow the movement along the surface of the dome. These bots, meant to simulate birds or fish, rise to the surface as they are accompanied by magical harp sounds."  When you move your hands over the surface, the images under the globe follow and change.

Artists involved in the creation of this piece >>Dr. Simone Patterson, Dane Webster, Sabrina Killian, and Bryan Lawson

Always Uncoupled.  This may be the coolest piece at the gallery.  Maybe it's just me, but who wouldn't want to see a bunch of creepy arms sticking out of the wall, swaying the sound of your movements? Based on pitch and intensity, a hidden microphone tells the arms how and when to move.  The arms are just images projected on to the wall, but they sure look real enough.

>>Dane Wester


Cyrene Reefs.  This piece has both kids and adults laughing and playing together.  The installation acts as "woodwind instruments with arm holes meant to represent the stops on the instrument. As visitors move their arms in and out of the sculpture, sound is generated in response to these movements."  The sounds range from deep, gutteral noises to light, high intonations.

>>Eric Standley, Ico Bukvic, and Bryan Lawson


All in all the gallery provides a very unique experience and showcases art forms that are on the rise.  It takes the gallery/museum setting to a new level by breaking down that invisible wall between viewer and creation and allowing the viewer to become part of each piece. 

I recommend it to anyone who happens to be traveling through Southwest Virginia - it will be well worth your time (not to mention there is a Starbucks, Subway, and Cabo Fish Taco right outside - mmmm yummy!)


The Experiential Gallery is open:

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.


9 a.m. - 2 p.m.


This gallery is made continually possible by the following dedicated team members:

Truman Capone, SOVA, Director, Full Professor
Director and Facilitator

Deb Sim, SOVA, Gallery Director, Instructor
Curator and Exhibition Designer

Liesl M. Baum, SOE, Instructional Design Project Manager
Educational Specialist and Coordinator

Somiah Muslimani, SOVA, Instructor and Assistant Creative Director, VDS4
Visual Branding

Morgan Sayers, SOVA, Alumni, BFA
Gallery Coordinator

Bobby Beaton, Computer Science, Graduate student
Exhibit Construction and Technician

Bryan Lawson, SOVA, Visual Communication Design
Exhibit Construction and Maintenance

All quotes used in this article are from The Experiential Gallery's website: ""

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