The main galleries have changed slightly in appearance since they were initially built. The back galleries originally functioned as an office for Smith and his assistant with an interior corridor connecting this space to the far back gallery. Both had large windows overlooking the Studio Court. The centerpiece of the Research Studio was the Laboratory Gallery, a long open space which featured separate square compartments built into the wall. These were created to discretely exhibit separate art pieces without the intrusion of adjoining works.
Although there were no resident artists in 1943 and 1944 due to World War II, the mission of the Research Studio continued unabated after the war. In the 1950s, Smith kept the colony at the forefront as “one of America’s modern artistic focal points.” In a public letter, Smith wrote “our exhibitions stress as far as possible the present-day trends in art, or any work that is of an experimental nature that may point a new path that will lead to the art of tomorrow.” The exhibits resonated with the public. Smith maintained “We do not have to resort to comic methods of subconscious, psychological or astrological ballyhooing and clowning in order to attract people to our exhibitions…People…either like them or they don’t like them; and that is all there is to it.”
Crossing the street you will enter the Chapel and Recreation Area. This area houses the greatest concentration of sculpture on campus, and includes two of the only works not designed by Smith. The Mayan Room at the back of the courtyard was designed by Bok Fellow Jack Hawkins. A tondo or round sculpture at the other end of the yard was designed by Wilma Dean Wolfs. Can you located the tondo?