Gallery 210 Mission Statement and History

Gallery 210 Mission Statement
The mission of Gallery 210 is to educate, enlighten and enhance the lives of members of the St. Louis community through contemporary art exhibitions by noted regional, national and international artists accompanied by targeted educational programming and active community outreach. Since its inception, the Gallery has been a home to dynamic, original and revolutionary artwork. Gallery 210 has focused on promoting upcoming and established contemporary artists from all over the world.

Gallery 210 History
Gallery 210 was established at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the fall semester off 1971. For over four decades, Gallery 210 has introduced the campus, as well as the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, to new art and artists through innovative exhibitions of contemporary art designed to inform and challenge preconceived notions of the visual arts. When Gallery 210 debuted in 1971, it was one of very few venues in the St. Louis Metropolitan area focusing exclusively on contemporary art. The gallery’s success and reputation rests in large part on the work done in the 1970s and up through the 1990s by former gallery directors the late Ms. Jean Tucker, Ms. Sylvia Walthers, Mr. Tom Patton, and Mr. Tom Kochheiser. It was their vision and commitment to bring new art to the UMSL campus that laid the foundation for the gallery’s present program.

Ms. Jean Tucker founded Gallery 210 for the purpose of bringing ‘actual’ works of art to the UMSL campus for the students. Tucker ran the program up to 1973 when it came under the direction of Ms. Sylvia Walthers for the next ten years. Tom Patton oversaw the program from1984 to 1986 with assistance from Tom Kochheiser beginning in 1986, who later became director of Gallery 210 in 1987 through 1994. From 1994-1996, Tom Patton with assistance from Ken Anderson managed the program until my appointment in 1996.

The exhibitions organized and presented by Tucker, Walthers, Patton, and Kochheiser brought to the St. Louis area some of the most advanced and challenging artworks of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Many of these now internationally famous artists were shown at Gallery 210 during their early or mid-careers, establishing the program as a leader in the presentation of contemporary art in the St. Louis Metropolitan region.

The gallery opened for the first time in Lucas Hall and at first consisted of artwork on a folding screen, but by 1972 a classroom in Lucas Hall was set-aside as an exhibition space. Gallery 210 finally had a home. The name, Gallery 210, refers to the room in Lucas Hall were the program was housed, and was inspired in no small part by Alfred Stieglitz’s New York art gallery “291”. The gallery remained in that location at the north end of the second floor of Lucas Hall until 1984, when the gallery was relocated to a larger room at the south end of the second floor.

In 2004, Gallery 210 relocated to its present home (44 Arnold Grobman Drive, One University Blvd on the UMSL North Campus) in the old Telecommunications Building adjoining UMSL’s ‘famous’ Blue Metal building.
Given Gallery 210’s reputation and regional profile, the gallery board voted to keep its name, in part to communicate to the public that the program, although relocated, remained committed to continuing its mission of featuring the work of living artists.