Fall 2008 Issue

Artistic Endeavor

On September 26 more than 300 Barry alumni, community members, faculty, staff and students attended the memorial dedication of the Andy Gato Gallery.

Located on the second floor of Thompson Hall, the contemporary gallery is named in honor of the late Andy Gato, who was vice president of lighting at the Miami-based Farrey’s Lighting. Gato became directly involved with Barry in 2006 when he facilitated the creation of an art exhibition space for the Cuban Identity Lecture and Art Exhibit, sponsored by the Department of Theology and Philosophy. He passed away unexpectedly that same year at the age of 59. His daughter, Andrea, a Barry alumna, recently gave birth to a son and named him Andy after her father.

“In many ways, this space and all that will happen in it is just like Andy. He loved art, lighting, music and festive atmospheres, so I am sure that wherever he is, he is saying ‘Oh yeah, baby,’” said his widow Maria Elena. “Deep down in my heart, I am speechless. I have to say many, many thanks to all who have helped to make this gallery happen and to Barry for making this opportunity to honor Andy possible."

Elsie Miranda, assistant professor of Theology and a close friend of the Gato family, along with the Rev. Mark Wedig, OP, chair of the Theology and Philosophy department, spearheaded a fundraising event in December 2007 in tribute to Gato and to help raise funds for the 4,100 square foot gallery, which features 350 linear feet of exhibition space. The money helped renovate the space, previously used as an old dining hall, into a state-of-the-art gallery and lecture facility for the Department of Fine Arts. The Department of Student Affairs furnished a portion of the gallery that serves as a student lounge area with around-the-clock access.

Gato’s close friend and mentee Andy Gonzalez donated the cost of the flooring and drywall, while labor and gifts in kind were provided by Miami based E-Tech Electric and Farrey’s Lighting. The Department of Fine Arts purchased peripherals such as audio visual equipment, pedestals and video surveillance.

“The creation of the Andy Gato Gallery at Barry University is a tremendous milestone for both the Barry community and the Department of Fine Arts,” said Silvia Lizama “This exhibition space and lecture hall created to honor the life of a great man will be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

The gallery’s premier exhibit, which took place September 24 – November 21, featured art that reflects the long history of Barry University’s visual art programs by including the work of present and former faculty members as well as graduate and undergraduate art, graphic design and photography alumni.