Skip to main content

Baxter Art Gallery records, 1962-1997

Historical Note

Baxter Art Gallery (1971-1985) was an art exhibition space at the California Institute of Technology, Pasedena, Calif., founded by Professor David Smith.
David R. Smith, professor of Literature, established an exhibition program for Caltech in 1968, as part of the Institute Programs Committee. In 1971 Baxter Art Gallery was formally established as part of the new Donald E. Baxter Hall of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The majority of the exhibitions focused on contemporary art, with a special interest in Southern California artists and art and technology. David Smith became the first gallery director. After years of struggling to find funding for exhibitions, in 1977 the gallery received sponsorship from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Also around this time the establishment of a membership program, Friends of the Baxter Art Gallery, allowed for more educational programs for the exhibitions, such as lectures, informal talks, films, tours, and performances.
Michael H. Smith served as director from 1977 to 1982, followed by Jay Belloli, director from 1982 to 1985. In 1984 the closing of the gallery was announced, despite outcry from faculty and the public. The last exhibition "25 Years of Space Photography" was held at the gallery from May 22 to September 2, 1985. That exhibition continued to tour internationally to over 50 museums under the curatorship of Jay Belloli.
After Baxter Art Gallery closed Belloli established the Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Arts and worked to find a new exhibition space. This gallery in collaboration with the Pasadena Arts Workshop became the Armory Center for the Arts in 1989 and Belloli served as Director of Gallery Programs.