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The University Galleries is dedicated to presenting historically under-recognized artists and artistic movements that are frequently overlooked in larger, mainstream institutions. The University Galleries emphasizes a global perspective on the arts that reflects WP’s designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, as well as the diversity of the WP community and the surrounding region. This commitment to diversity is rooted in WP's mission and core values. In addition, the Galleries serve the needs of professional artists, particularly those based in New Jersey, by offering exhibit opportunities, residencies, and public programs such as lectures, artist and curator talks, and exhibit tours. These diverse programs enable artists and the public to interact, to be introduced to new work, and participate in a dialogue about the visual arts. 

Major programming explores diverse cultural perspectives, social justice, and interdisciplinary approaches. Recent solo exhibitions of Latino artists include: Raymond Saá (2015), Armando Guiller (2016), Joiri Minaya (2017) [2-person show], Blanka Amezkua (2018), Geandy Pavón (2018), and Rafael Soriano (2019). The Soriano exhibition was accompanied by a bilingual exhibition catalogue and traveled to the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC) and the Museum of the Cuban Diaspora (Miami, FL). 

The University Galleries is located in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts, which is named after the important social realist artist who resided in New Jersey for nearly three decades. His legacy as an advocate for human rights, social justice, and workers’ rights is an ongoing inspiration for our programs. 

The University Galleries routinely collaborate with faculty in art history, environmental science, history, and philosophy to develop exhibitions that further academic scholarship, connect with the curriculum, and foster dialogues across disciplines.

Periodically looking beyond contemporary art, our exhibits highlight landmark events. Past exhibitions have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Paterson Silk Strike, the 350th anniversary of the State of New Jersey, the 100th anniversary of WWI, the 50th anniversary of the passing of Ben Shahn, and the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.