SF State student Carolyn Ho breathes new life into on-campus art gallery

SF State
Carolyn Ho, a grad student in Poetry at SF State is the curator for the art gallery on the top floor of the Caesar Chavez Student Center. Ho enjoys origami and encouraging students to attend events at the gallery. The next event, Closing Reception for "Ship Shape" a tattoo art exhibit will take place there Sept. 20, 2012 from 5-7p featuring free henna, snacks, live music, and giveaways. Photo by Tearsa Joy Hammock. Sept. 11, 2012.

One SF State student is bringing a creative space to life and bridging the gap between artists and fans as they come together in their love for a common passion: art.

Within the Cesar Chavez Student Center walls, Carolyn Ho is spending her days working behind-the-scenes at the Art Gallery. Ho, 32, is the manager and curator of the Art Gallery while simultaneously balancing life as a senior graduate student. Ho is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and is preparing for life after graduation.

“Carolyn Ho brings brilliance and vision to the position of gallery director of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Art Gallery,” said Mark Johnson, Fine Arts Gallery director and professor of art at SF State. “(Ho) has already collaborated with various academic units to create a vibrant web of culture on campus with the Art Gallery at its hub.”

Originally from Los Angeles, Ho has been surrounded by art her whole life and has a background in graphic design, painting, origami and sketching. In conjunction with her art interests, Ho has been an active member of the SF State entertainment community for the past four years. Ho formerly managed The Depot for two years with Gio Acosta.

Following that experience, Ho decided to embark on a new endeavor and applied for the position of manager and curator at the Art Gallery on campus. During the interview process, Ho expressed her determination to revamp the Art Gallery and bring more traffic into the area.

“I’m disheartened when people don’t know the space,” said Ho. “What’s the point of having really great art on the wall but nobody comes in?”

Since Ho began working at the Art Gallery, the number of art shows have increased to four per semester and two per summer. Ho has also encouraged empowerment of student artists by having their work featured at the Art Gallery.

“She’s always very chipper and talking with (students) on a personal level,” said Janna Alfred, a sophomore at SF State majoring in studio art.

Although one of Ho’s titles at the Art Gallery is curator, she hasn’t hesitated at the chance of giving her staff a chance to co-curate shows with her. Next year, Ho is planning to have her current staff create a show at the Art Gallery on their own.

“I think (my job) would be a lot easier if I didn’t have bigger ambitions for the gallery,” said Ho. “I don’t want to do something that no one will see.”