Truax Gallery Website



Screenshot displays the look of the Truax Gallery’s new website.

Anica Graney, Editor-in-Chief

The Gallery at Truax has been out of commission ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago. “We were in the middle of installing a physical show that was for the college transfer art program when the pandemic happened,” recalls Senior Laboratory Coordinator Nick Loveland. “So, then we were in limbo for a long time until the idea came up to have a virtual gallery experience.”

Together with the help of last semester’s Advanced Web Design class, the Gallery now has an online website available for public viewing at “When Nick and others were tossing around the idea of having this website, of course, I wanted to be part of it,” said Commerical Arts Instructor Penny Aguilera.

The project began in November 2020 when students in the Advanced Web Design class were given a final project of creating the Gallery’s website. “All the students were asked to design the website and working as a team was an option,” said Aguilera. “All the small teams or individuals worked closely with Nick Loveland and were able to ask lots of questions. There was a process of discovery and making sure everyone understood what the requirements were and then from there the students really gave it their best shot designing and prototyping what would maybe mimic the experience of the Gallery.”

Out of nine submissions, student web designer Michelle Michalski’s website was selected as the winner. “I love the Gallery!” said Michalski. “You know, I’ve seen a lot of the shows because I’ve been at MATC for three years now and I realized a problem for the website is the diversity of types of shows. So, finding a format that would be flexible going forward to cover the different types of things that the Gallery might be doing was the hardest part of it.”

“The thing that made Michelle’s design so special was she really thought about that whole experience about what a show would look like online and how a person could cycle through the different images,” said Aguilera. “And kudos to her for translating that experience into an equally engaging online experience. I couldn’t be more thrilled for what she did.”

“I wanted it to be easy enough for someone who’s not a web designer to be able to use it,” added Michalski.

The websites were created using stock or “fake” photos and once the winning website was chosen, the website had to be updated with pictures of the current show. “It had to be adapted to reality,” chuckled Michalski. “So, I had to stay involved.”

The website is planning to be updated as new exhibits are created. “There were about thirty hours of classwork devoted to the projects, and then Michelle continued on and she had to build the whole gallery for the first show, and now there’s a second show coming up so we’re counting on Michelle to help figure out what that transition could look like,” said Aguilera.

After the winning website was chosen, it had to be checked over by the marketing department at Madison College. Loveland then applied for an Innovation Grant through the Center of Entrepreneurship at Madison College and received $700 to pay for the hosting and domain name of the website.

The Gallery’s website currently displays student work from the photography program at Madison College in an exhibit titled “Staying Focused.” “We wanted to pretty much showcase what the normal, physical Gallery would showcase and that’s any student work,” said Loveland.

Students are encouraged to visit the website and submit any ideas they have for future exhibitions through a form. Other opportunities for involvement with the Gallery are also a possibility for the future. “There’s the potential of student helping whether it be a work study or helping to prepare images for the gallery, helping out with the website or adding on a social media presence,” said Aguilera. “Nothing is established yet, but I think there could be additional places for students to get involved in the preparation and promotion of the artwork and Gallery.”

“The Gallery is there for the students to showcase their work,” said Loveland. “Fortunately, now we have a website for the Gallery so that can continue to happen.”