Gallery of the Common Experience

Vaquero statue and Lampasas, photo by Billi London-Gray
The gallery is located in Lampasas, the building with the arched windows next to Old Main and the Vaquero statue.

The Gallery of the Common Experience, located in LAMP 407 (the Honors Coffee Forum), has showcased exhibits ranging from a photo documentary on the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the onset of HIV to political cartoons of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The gallery also hosts special events throughout the year, including free art workshops, artist talks and public art events on the Quad.

The gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Admission is free.

Sponsored by the Honors College and the Common Experience at Texas State University, the gallery is maintained by curator Krys Nelson and a campus-wide committee of dedicated art lovers. For more information or to become involved with the committee, e-mail or call 512.245.2266. You can also follow the Gallery of the Common Experience on Facebook.


"I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME WAR!: Women in Conflict, an exhibition examining women's participation from WWI to the present"

FALL 2016 Exhibition
FALL SHOW DATES: August 29 - December 9, 2016

This show takes its inspiration from the 2016-2017 Common Experience theme -
A Century of Conflict: Dialogues on the U.S. Experience of War since 1917 -
The theme will highlight the universal elements of the war experience and its pervasive influence on the world since American entry into World War I in 1917.
Events associated with the theme will bring together campus and community groups in discussions of issues relevant to the world in which our students are currently living and voting.
The theme will help all students understand the impact of U.S. foreign relations over the course of a century, the connection to global communities, and the ways in which modern wars shape the interactions of research and economics.
Students will better understand the repercussions of decisions about conflict and international relations made around the world.

Artists, Archivists, Veterans, Current Active Military Duty Personnel and Historians alike are asked to contribute to this Open Call to illuminate a greater understanding of the personal, political, psychological, spiritual & physical challenges encountered by woman who served their country during wartime, beginning with WWI to the present. Additionally, the examination of the ramifications of their service for their family and friends is an area of worthwhile investigation & insight. Any medium may be utilized by the Artist/Contributor to convey their perspective of the female combat experience, communicating a greater understanding of this knowledge to the viewer. Historical works including documenting photographs, newspaper articles, and memoirs are highly sought. Equally appreciated contributions include artistic interpretations of oral histories framing the physical or metaphorical journey of ancestors, family portraiture, and visual examples that depict women in military conflict or related cultural experience as it pertains to the feminine perspective of war for the last 100 years.

Digital images in addition to Artist Bio, specifications & statement relating to each work should be sent to
Questions can be directed to Gallery Curator, Krys Nelson at
Submission Deadline: August 12, 2016.

Leaves on the Wind: The Growth of the Family Tree Through the Mexican American Journey

"Working Hands" Artist: Megan Francis Vallejo, 2016

February 4, 2016 - August 19, 2016

Thursday, February 11th from 4:00 until 6:00 pm, The Gallery of the Common Experience at the Honors College presents the opening reception for the Spring 2016 exhibition, LEAVES ON THE WIND: The Growth of the Family Tree through the Mexican American Journey. This show presents an engaging collection encompassing a variety of work that reflects upon the notions of lineage and the complexities borne of the migrational journey. This exhibition, with its emphasis on re-enforcing the historical foundation of the proverbial family tree, plants seeds of memory through the use of archival photographs and shared oral histories that serve to document early San Marcians of Mexican lineage. We will show the brief (23 minute) video detailing the early life & myriad accomplishments of Ms. Ofelia Vasquez-Philo, in her own words, at 5:15pm in the conference room, 407A. Light refreshments will be served. Original artwork by internationally known, regional and local artists, including Texas State alumni & current students, will also be on display. These artists, along with several photographers, muralists and poets have also added their voices and visions to this thought-provoking theme. Please join us for what's sure to be an exciting event, ripe for dialogue, debate and discussion!

See below and also here to view photos of past events and exhibits.

Expand or Collapse all.

Las Manos Que Crean: Chicano Heritage, Culture and Meanings

September 21, 2015 – January 22, 2016

This  exhibition  will  share  works  that  present  different  perspectives  on  Chicano  identity,  with  the  goal  of  encouraging  viewers  to  reconsider  and  redefine  the  term Chicano.  As  part  of  Texas  State  University’s  yearlong  Common  Experience  theme,  Bridged  Through  Stories:  The  Shared  Heritage  of  the  United  States  and  Mexico,  An  Homage  to  Dr.  Tomás  Rivera, this  exhibition  will  contribute  to  our  community’s  understanding  of  Chicanos  as  distinct and  important players  in  the American  story.

Chicano Legacy




Arts Careers Talk: Caitlin G. McCollom

Friday, April 17, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. in LAMP 501

Caitlin G. McCollom visited the Honors College to speak about her work as an independent artist, critic and curator. She shared insights and tips from her own experiences launching an interdisciplinary career in the arts. The event was attended by students, faculty, staff and members of the public.

About the speaker: McCollom earned a BFA in painting at Texas State in 2010, and ran Red Space Gallery in Austin from 2011-2013. She writes reviews for Glasstire, and exhibits her artwork throughout the state. Pump Project in Austin hosted a solo show of her work through May 9.



238: Framing the Goals of Democracy

Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday, February 5, 2015

On view through May 8, 2015

The Declaration of Independence, which formally separated the American colonies from Great Britain, provided justification for the formation of a new government and established principles for its rule.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. 

For this exhibition, curator Billi London-Gray and the student-curators of the Gallery of the Common Experience selected works that address both the met and unmet goals of democracy after 238 years in America. Photographs in the conference room depict steps toward the goal of racial equality in the United States and South Africa.

We've designed this exhibition to raise several questions: What makes democracy work? What responsibilities do democratic citizens owe each other? What goals must our democracy meet to ensure parity of justice for all members of society?

Works on display represent public-domain collections from the Library of Congress, the U.S. National Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum. Original works by Susan Winters Cook, Debangana Banerjee and Darin Wood are also included.

This exhibition is part of Texas State University’s 2014-15 Common Experience theme, “Exploring Democracy’s Promise: From Segregation to Integration,” and is sponsored by the Common Experience and the Honors College.

Rue Romani


Black, White and Gray: A Spectrum of Views on Integration

Fall 2014 Exhibition

The Gallery of the Common Experience presents its fall 2014 exhibition with an opening reception on Thursday, September 4, from 5-7 p.m. Works selected for this exhibition address the question, "What does integration look like to you?" Admittance to the gallery is always free and open to the public.

We are pleased to present work by local, national and international artists, including Glenda Adkinson, Debangana Banerjee, Susan Winters Cook, Cynthia I. Gonzales, Daniel Bernard Gray, Matt Herron, Billi London-Gray, Beth Consetta Rubel and Ryan Runcie. The exhibition will be on display through December 10, 2014.

The overall goal of this collection – ranging from black and white photographs of historic civil rights events to new work by artists addressing colorism, racism, racial identity and tolerance – is to create a dialog between the artworks and viewers about integration and the many ways people view it. What is integration? What aspects of difference are parts of integration and are they as important or meaningful as racial difference? Does integration benefit everyone? Is integration progressing? What’s the effect of integration on your life? The gallery's location in the Honors Coffee Forum provides an ideal environment for civil discussions about these important questions.

Paperbag Test

Campus Canvas: A Community Art Project

Ongoing since 2013

The third version of Campus Canvas began Saturday, February 21, 2015, in the LBJ Student Center as part of the 2015 Texas State Leadership Institute Annual Conference. Participants from Texas State and other universities around the state collaborated to create two paintings that related the Common Experience theme to the responsibilities of leading change in the world. The paintings were again displayed at the 2015 Texas Wild Rice Festival on Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Sewell Park, where festival goers added images and messages of empowerment to the compositions.

The Gallery of the Common Experience and the Honors Learning Community hosted the second Campus Canvas event on Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Quad. The resulting campus-wide collaborative diptych is currently on display on the 4th floor of the Lampasas Building, alongside the first Campus Canvas diptych. Hundreds of Texas State students, faculty and staff created these large paintings, expressive of the diversity of ideas and talents within our community. Stop by and check them out for inspiration!

For information, email

Keep making art, Bobcats!

Campus Canvas

Face Forward: Portraits of Emotional Exposure

January 13 - May 10, 2014 // Reception January 30, 5-7 p.m.

The Gallery of the Common Experience presented its spring 2014 exhibition, Face Forward: Portraits of Emotional Exposure, starting January 13, 2014. The exhibition, designed to explore the Common Experience theme of mental health and illness, featured emotionally descriptive and evocative portraiture by artists from around the state, including several Texas State students and alumni.

Additionally, the exhibition included a survey of the work of David Francis Drymala, a San Marcos artist and musician. Drymala is the subject of the documentary A Deeper Side, which shares his journey through life as a gifted artist affected by mental illness.

(At right: Confusing Saturation by Kara Rhodes)

Confusing Saturation by Kara Rhodes


Peace Paper Week 2014

A Common Experience with the Art of Paper Making

For two millennia, humankind has created paper by hand. Whatever the intention behind the paper, be it to represent wealth, to carry spirituality, or to convey messages, every fiber that goes into the making of paper has a story to tell. Peace Paper Project, a collaboration between artists Drew Matott and Margaret Mahan, works to empower healing arts communities around the world by introducing collaborative art processes that foster positive forward thinking, enhanced communication, and peaceful reconciliation. Through hand papermaking, writing, book and printmaking activities, they work with local communities to transform significant materials into works of art that broadcast personal stories, mutual understanding and healing.