About the Art Gallery

Inaugurated in 2015, the Carlow University Art Gallery is dedicated to creating art exhibitions and public programs that highlight Carlow's social justice mission and build on the University's dedication to experiential learning. The Carlow Gallery exhibits the work of professional artists, primarily artists from the Pittsburgh region, and serves as a laboratory for critical inquiry for the entire University community. 

The director of the Carlow University Art Gallery is Sarah Jacobs, assistant professor of art.  For more information about the gallery, please email: sjacobs@carlow.edu.

Follow the gallery on Instagram: @carlow_gallery

Opening Reception for OUT OF MANY: Stories of Migration 
September 13th, 6pm - 8pm at the Carlow Gallery
Free and Open to the Public

Fall 2018 hours: 

Every day, 9am - 8pm



OUT OF MANY (September 13, 2018 - December 6, 2018)

Out of Many - Stories of Migration, Carlow Gallery 

While migration today has become one of the most divisive elements of our contemporary discourse, the arguments both for and against the newcomer —whether we mean migrants, immigrants, or refugees—echo throughout our history. Our immigration laws show how the entrance into the country has widened and narrowed since its beginning. Not all were welcomed, let alone considered equal. A century ago, Irish and Italian immigrants were characterized as criminals, as we are often told is the case for immigrants today.

America is bound together by the idea that, whether in our own lifetime or that of our ancestors, we have all come from somewhere. As migrants, we bring with us different names, foods, and customs. We may look different from our neighbors. We may wear different clothes, speak different languages, and worship different gods—or none at all. We may elicit curiosity, and fear. But choosing to learn each other’s stories offers us a sense of belonging to something larger than ourselves.

The project from which these photographs are taken is about the process of moving—or being moved—to a new place. Rather than looking at migrants as faceless, nameless stereotypes, this project gives us individual stories. Using Pittsburgh as a lens through which to consider the American migration experience, the project shows how our paths are interwoven: each person’s journey becomes a part of the culture we share.

Though the project is expansive, it is not possible to be all-encompassing. All around the country, the shaping of our cities and culture continues to unfold. Every story of immigration has its own set of circumstances and affects each area of the country in different ways. Our hope is that this project will create space for civil discussion that can lead to responsible actions. E Pluribus Unum — “Out of Many, One” — has informed the identity of this country since its inception. This is a project about us, about the stranger in all of us; it offers a glimpse of our collective story. It is the hope of the team that sharing this will encourage a sense of empathy among us, an appeal to what Abraham Lincoln described as “the better angels of our nature.”

Brian Cohen and Laura Domencic
Curators, Out of Many – Stories of Migration


Student Artists pose with their work  

Over the summer 6 Carlow students created the designs that will be incorporated into the University Commons 5th floor balcony this fall. Artists: Emily Armstrong, Jasmine Cho, Victoria Hirsh, Taylor Humes, Katie Krall, Katie Winter; Professor: Sarah Jacobs. Thank you to Dr. Mellon and David Meadows for their support of this project. Thank you to Bill, Anthony, Johnathan, and everyone else at LGA Partners for their time, feedback, and kindness.

TEN OUT OF TEN (February 12, 2018 - April 27, 2018)

an image from the exhibition Ten out of Ten 

Guest curator and artist Sigrid Zahner invited ten well-known ceramic artists from around the country to participate in this exhibition. Each of those artists was asked to invite another artist to the exhibition. The result is TEN OUT OF TEN, a national exhibition of contemporary ceramics. The show includes a wide-range of artists and practices, from wood-fired pots and porcelain installations to 3D printing. The works engage subjects as diverse as the refugee crisis and the endangered bee population to popular culture and the history of still life. 

This exhibition is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Pittsburgh, PA in March 2018. In keeping with NCECA's core focus on ceramics education, TEN OUT OF TEN highlights artists who are actively involved in teaching, be it on the college level or in the community. According to curator Sigrid Zahner, "the goal of this exhibition is to present a show that displays excellence in the field at all levels of an artist's career, from the undergraduate to the professor who allows students to stand on her or his shoulders and soar."

Please visit the online catalog for this exhibition: http://10outof10.omeka.net/exhibits/show/10out10




a photo from the Prosecutrix show

November 16, 2017 - January 26, 2018 

PROSECUTERIX is a participatory and ongoing installation that addresses the issues of rape, assault and sexual violence in contemporary society. Stemming from the artist's own experiences as a child in India, this project aims to bring awareness to the sexual abuse and to give voice to those who wish to share their stories. 

For more on the project and for ways to participate, visit http://www.sarika-goulatia.com/prosecuterix




Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14, 5:30-7:30
Artist Talk with Bob Qualters: Tuesday, September 19, 4pm



MY PITTSBURGH focuses on the Pittsburgh subjects of two iconic artists, John Kane and Robert Qualters, giving special emphasis to the influence that Kane’s work had on Qualters’ paintings. This exhibition also highlights works in Carlow University Art Collection, including John Kane’s Mount Mercy, donated to Carlow by Mrs. Elsie Hillman in 2001, and For John Kane and Big Self-Portrait by Robert Qualters, donated in 2017.


January 17 – April 28, 2017

Up In Arms

The Carlow University Art Gallery is honored to present UP IN ARMS. Organized by Susanne Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. UP IN ARMS presents a number of perspectives on the image and impact of guns in contemporary culture, though none endorse them as a means to an end. Works by nine artists touch upon a host of issues surrounding access to and use of firearms, examining and representing the role that guns continue to play in our national mythologies and pathologies, suicide and homicide rates, domestic violence, and mass media.

Gun ownership and control is a divisive topic in this country. The artists in UP IN ARMS visualize the power of the gun as icon and instrument, the damage it can do and how weapons might be rejected, subverted or silenced. Some show the power that guns wield in our daily realities and personal fantasies. Others mourn and resist that power, doing everything they can to take it away, believing there are better ways to resolve conflicts, ensure safety and keep the peace.

UP IN ARMS is presented in conjunction with the launch of the Social Justice Institutes (SJI) at Carlow University. The SJI provides access to under-represented groups and seeks to close educational, socio-economic, and leadership gaps. Projects within the SJI fall into three areas: Research, Education, and Community Outreach. In addition to the support that the SJI provides to faculty, staff, and students, it is also embarking on a three-year strategy to support and partner on community initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence.

We also invite you to visit an accompanying installation of photographs and videos by Carlow photographer David C. Holzemer on the 5th Floor of the University Commons. TOO MANY documents the stories of members of the Carlow community who have been affected by gun violence.




Illuminations: Works by Vanessa German, Peter Oresick, and Christopher Ruane

September 6, 2016 - December 9 2016



February 8, 2016 – May 6, 2016 
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5:30-7:30pm

DISPLACEMENT/REPLACEMENT examines community narratives through the lenses of four African American imagemakers, considering the changing milieus of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of the Hill District, East Liberty, Braddock, and of Butler County. Marked by “urban renewal”, gentrification, and environmental blight, respectively, these communities have seen displacement of thousands of low-income residents, primarily African American and/or working class people. One may wonder where all of these people went and what we might learn from the fluctuations of populations due to race and class. From the Great Migration of millions of Africans Americans moving North in search of jobs and escape from Jim Crow, to the currently rapidly changing landscape of East Liberty, to the devastation of lives due to fracking, to the destruction of public housing, this exhibition explores the questions: who belongs, and who decides? 

Displacement/Replacement Flyer

Observation / Exploration: Works by William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman


November 19, 2015 – January 29, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm

As is frequently the case with art, the works of William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman are not at all as they initially appear. In both cases, the product belies a hidden process of observation and exploration. What appears as random in the work of Dale Huffman in actuality is cultivated through delicate and nuanced technique developed through years of experimentation and critical analysis. In the case of William DeBernardi, what appears as photographic emulation is in fact an exploratory observation followed by an extensive process of developing and distilling information.

Observation Exploration: Works by William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman
Huffman’s ceramic works echo the influences of wabi-sabi and the Zen foundation of traditional Japanese crafts, appearing casual and sometimes crude. His style emphasizes loose handling of the clay during production. However, this façade obscures the careful exploration that is implicit here. Each twist in the clay and every mark on the clay’s surface has evolved over decades of exploration with the clay, aided by15 years training as a student of tai chi. Each firing continues Huffman’s ongoing exploration of wood types, firing cycles, and stacking patterns. The failure rate is high but necessary. Quoting artist Andy Goldsworthy: “A lot of effort is going into making this look effortless.

DeBernardi’s paintings are couched in a realist and figurative tradition. The images present unguarded moments of everyday activity. At first glance, the work seems to consist of random “snapshots” of faces and figures in various environments. However, the visual information that explores light, gesture, human personality, and social ritual expresses a more layered meaning. Backgrounds may be specific environments or vague in their depiction of location. This intentional choice is indicative of the exploratory-based decisions made by DeBernardi for expressive purposes. Photographic references are developed through extensive drawing studies that search for the essential information necessary to express what he feels are universal truths about the human experience.

Find out more about Carlow University Professors William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman

Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane Samuels 

September 15 – November 13, 2015 
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm 

The Carlow University Gallery was proud to feature the work of Diane Samuels in its inaugural exhibition, "Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane Samuels" from September 15, 2015 – November 13, 2015. This exhibition marked the public debut of both Moby-Dick and Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, and also served as the starting point for a public art project that Diane Samuels will create for the University Commons over the next year. 

The works in the exhibition — a monumental roll of blue parchment, a colorful map of India, a book of seemingly blank pages — require us to move closer to engage with hidden stories.

University Commons Art Gallery: Inaugural Exhibition Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane SamuelsVisitors discussing "Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie"

From Herman Melville's canonical Moby-Dick to the lesser-known story of a Polish refugee, artist Diane Samuels uses the words that guide those narratives as the raw material for her art. Painstakingly transcribing each word from a book or interview, Samuels brings new life, color, and texture to these already profound stories and creates tapestries that invite us to experience the story through her unique lens.

In Moby-Dick, Samuels writes each page of Melville's book across connected pieces of hand-colored, handmade paper reconstituted from her old artworks, adding collage elements. In Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, Samuels divides Rushdie's novel of the Indian independence and partition into 1,001 parts, each transcribed onto paper recalling the colorful patterns of Indian sari and forming the map of the new nation. In Book of Norma's Words, the story of a young Polish émigrée emerges only when light passes through, revealing the words on the watermarked pages.

University Commons Art Gallery Opening: Close Reading: Works by Diane Samuels"Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas/ Testimony Against Gertrude Stein," 2011 (detail)

Diane Samuels is a visual artist, with studio and public art practices. She is also co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile. Her work is in public and private collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Yeshiva University Museum, and the Center for Book Arts.

Find out more about Diane Samuels.