Colorado State University’s Gustafson Gallery Reopens Doors in New, Upgraded Location

One of Colorado State University’s notable galleries will be rededicated in a new and upgraded location on Friday, Feb. 11. The Gustafson Gallery, originally inaugurated more than 20 years ago, has housed dozens of exhibits of modern and historic clothing and textiles.

The rededication will be celebrated with an exhibit, Old Beginnings: New Traditions, that will feature juried designs from students enrolled in a graduate-level design course during the Fall 2010 semester. The ceremony opening the exhibit will be from 4-6 p.m. in Room 318 Gifford Building, 502 W. Lake St.

The gallery’s first exhibit in March 1987, called Old Beginnings, featured several artifacts that were the “seeds” of the university’s collection of historic costume and textiles. The gallery at that time was located in 316 Gifford. Since that date, the gallery has been in Aylesworth Hall and on the first floor of Gifford. It recently became part of the Department of Design and Merchandising’s Avenir Museum.

During the Feb. 11 rededication, the Gustafson Gallery will be unveiled in a location –318 Gifford – that is newly remodeled, thanks to a donation to the Department of Design and Merchandising from the Isabelle Louise Arnold Trust. The new space features green materials such as bamboo flooring and environmentally friendly paint with fewer chemicals.

The Gustafson Gallery is one of two galleries in the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising. Exhibits in the Gustafson Gallery will focus on student work. The other gallery is located in the University Center for the Arts.

Since its opening, the Gustafson Gallery has housed nearly 40 exhibits, with a vast range of names that hint at the depth of the gallery’s history, such as “Better Dressing through Chemistry,” “If the Shoe Fits …,” “Paisley,” “Glitter and Glass: Beaded Dresses of the 1920s,” “Exploring Chaos Theory Through Life and Art: A study in Textiles,” and “Women in Western Film: Myth Versus Reality.” In addition, the gallery has highlighted the outrageous designs of Mr. Blackwell as well as athletic and active wear, one hundred years of wedding fashions and the university’s extensive kimono collection. Because of its depth and wide range, the gallery continues to be a springboard for discussing history, cultural ideas and issues.

The Gustafson Gallery is named for Dagmar C. Gustafson. She was head of the Department of Textiles and Clothing at Colorado State University. She retired after a 20-year career at the university in 1968.

Gustafson began to establish a historic costume collection and museum at CSU to help students learn about textiles, offer interesting exhibits to the community and provide a valuable state and regional resource. She contributed many items from her own personal collection.

Through Gustafson’s foresight, the merchandising internship program for undergraduates was started at CSU more than 50 years ago. Other universities did not begin such internships until more recent years. From the first eight students involved in this internship experience with Denver area retail firms, the program has grown to about 70 interns each year placed in design, produce development, merchandising retail management positions throughout the country.

In 1982, the Dagmar Gustafson Scholarship was established her honor.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is in the College of Applied Human Sciences. The college is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its formation in 2011.