Message From The Director

As we begin the 2020-21 academic year, I would like to welcome back our students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Natalie and James Thompson Gallery and our student galleries at San Jose State University.

When we abruptly left campus in March 2020, exhibitions in our galleries were frozen in place, and speakers series lectures rescheduled or cancelled. Visiting artists and speakers, faculty, staff, and students were asked to rapidly change their modes of lecture delivery and exhibitions, and many plans were put on hold. Swiftly, creatively and thoughtfully, students and faculty pivoted to online exhibition platforms and created group shows that are not only visually striking, but astounding in their nuanced approach to exploring the effects and visual culture of the global pandemic and current events. Our BFA and MFA students shifted their thesis exhibitions, a culmination of years of hard work and study, to online formats and as a result showed not only their talent, but also the professionalism and expertise that they gained in their time at SJSU. 

As we begin this new academic year, I look forward to welcoming you to our gallery exhibitions and public programs both virtually and in person. While our building will be open to some in person instruction, the Thompson Art Gallery and student galleries will be open to visitors by appointment only. This fall we will be featuring Rosa Menkman: Shadow Knowledge a ground-breaking new exhibition by the Dutch new media artist known for her research on resolution. In November, we will open an exhibition of our own University Art Collection, a first for the Thompson Gallery.  Both of these exhibitions will be available for online viewing and in person viewing by appointment. Our Tuesday Night Lecture series will also be held entirely online, and will be supplemented by a cross-CSU Art and Art History lecture program. As with previous years, our lecture series offers attendees an opportunity to hear from a wide range of artists, curators, designers, thinkers, and other arts practitioners and brings our students into close contact and conversation with these individuals. 

The Natalie and James Thompson Gallery has always engaged in contemporary dialogues and welcomed a diverse range of artists and speakers, but this year we would like to reaffirm our commitment to using our platform in support of Black Lives Matter and communities of color. We will continue to work to amplify marginalized voices and offer diverse perspectives through our exhibitions, Tuesday Night Speakers Series, and programming. We believe in the power of art to bring communities together, to change perspectives, and to inspire action, and we are committed to bringing together our students and faculty with visiting artists, designers, curators and arts practitioners to promote cross-cultural dialogue and foster respect.

I look forward to the day when our galleries will once again be filled with students and community members and when we can come together to experience the arts. In the meantime, I invite you to continue to engage with us virtually on this website and through social media and to contact me if ever you want to see an exhibition in person. I look forward to sharing the work of our talented students and visiting artists with you.


Alena Sauzade

Gallery Director and University Collections Manager