This article was originally posted in the SNHU Observer (Volume VIII, Issue 6) on March 7, 2002:

As some at SNHU followed their normal Friday evening routines, invited guests mingled in the foyer of Robert Frost Hall, sipping soda and snacking on treats. On Friday, February 22, at 7 p.m., the McIninch Art Gallery officially opened its doors, marking a special addition to SNHU.

The McIninch Art Gallery first opened its doors for a preview the day prior, an event for the entire SNHU campus. Approximately 125 students, faculty and staff were the first to set eyes on the art work, with punch and cookies served in front of the gallery.

Although the Open House was a significant event, the real show was on February 22. in addition to faculty and staff, SNHU President Richard Gustafson, Manchester Mayor Robert Baines, members of the McIninch family, along with many of the artists of the works displayed in the gallery, attended the event.

As guests arrived at Robert Frost Hall, they were cordially greeted by the director of the McIninch Art Gallery, Dr. Robert Craven. The guests were then invited to long tables laden with delicious treats. The elegant atmosphere reflected the importance of the art opening to both the campus and Craven.

While mingling, guest casually walked through the art gallery. When the guests walked through the doors, the first work of art they saw was American Beauty by Rick Ayotte. This piece encased a red flower in glass, similar to another piece displayed by Ayotte called Springtime. Another remarkable work that caught viewers’ eyes was a painting by Melissa Miller called Harrison Street in Winter III, a beautiful oil on canvas painting with bright colors and minute details. Stuart Ober’s Sea Foam Mistake was an interesting working on the right-hand side wall of the gallery. Sea Foam Mistake pictures a chair with a paint can spilling an aquamarine color. In addition to these works was an interesting bottle by Gerry Williams. The bottle was splattered with red and greenish colors and made of glazed and fired clay. this bottle is a permanent holding of the McIninch Art Gallery, donated by Professor Chris Toy.

About halfway through the event, guests were ushered into the Walker Auditorium for a few words from Gustafson, Douglas McIninch and Craven. Gustafson was first to speak, giving thanks to the Currier Art Gallery for its support as well as to the McIninch family for their generosity. He added that “the art gallery represents a whole new direction that will bring a special spirit to the school.”

McIninch added to these comments, stating, “It was a pleasure to help make [the art gallery] happen during a time where so much of our entertainment is mindless.” Craven chose to talk about the Open House that was held the day before. He joked his goal is to “not have to use cookies and punch to bribe the students to walk through the doors of the gallery.” He also gave many thanks and introduces each of the artists present at the event.

The evening continued until approximately 8:30 p.m. All in all, the opening went well, with the hard work and dedication of Craven. The diversity of the works displayed and the elegant atmosphere provided a wonderful evening enjoyed by all.

The McIninch Art Gallery will continue its Grand Opening Invitational Show from now until April 4. The hours of the gallery are Monday through Thursday plus Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday evening 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 668-2211, ext. 2226.

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