Bacigalupi heads Blaffer

by Linda Coomes

Daily Cougar Staff

After more than a year-long search, the University of Houston has appointed alumni Don Bacigalupi as the new director of the Blaffer Gallery.

Bacigalupi graduated summa cum laude in 1983 with a B.A. in art history. He received both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

Bacigalupi comes to UH from the San Antonio Museum of Art, where he was the Brown Curator of Contemporary Art. He previously served as chief curator and adviser of the Whatley Collection in Austin and as a lecturer for the Department of Art History at UT.

"It's great to be back in Houston and here at the university. I'm looking forward to our plans for this year," Bacigalupi said.

The first of those plans was the official reopening of the Gallery Saturday for the Houston Area Exhibition. The annual event first began in 1925 and was held every year in the Museum of Fine Arts until 1974, when it moved to the Gallery. The Area Exhibition is a juried event in which hundreds of Houston artists enter their works, and those selected have their work presented from Feb. 4 through March 31 in a museum setting. Cash awards are given to first, second and third place selections.

"This will be a great opportunity to familiarize myself with a whole variety of Houston artists," Bacigalupi said. "This is one of the biggest Houston-area exhibitions, and it will show a good cross-section of Houston artists."

As director, Bacigalupi has a full agenda for the rest of the year, including other exhibitions, panel discussions, lectures by guest speakers and workshops for students.

The search to find a new director began in the fall of 1994, when Marti Mayo, Blaffer director for nine years, became director of Houston's Contemporary Arts Museum. Assistant Director Nancy Hixon served as acting director of the Gallery during the interim.

"I am really glad to be in Houston. Houston has a world-class art scene." Bacigalupi said.

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