BC’s gallery given official art director


Javier Valdes

Gallery director, Tom Betthauser, is seen showcasing the art piece, "Dust Collectors," by artist Roni Shneior at the BC art gallery located in the library.

Mason J. Rockfellow, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery now has an official director.

The new gallery director is Tom Betthauser, 28, who is also an artist and an adjunct professor for the Kern Community College District.

Betthauser graduated from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Calif. After high school, Betthauser went to San Francisco State where he finished his general education and later went on to study art history and studio art at San Francisco Art Institute. He then graduated from Yale School of Art with a Master of Fine Arts.

This is the first opportunity Betthauser has had to be a director of a gallery, but he has experience working in them previously.

“Outside of academia, if you’re the director of a gallery, you usually own it…it’s my first opportunity to direct a space and it’s gone pretty well,” said Betthauser.

For the better half of the last decade, Betthauser has been working as an instructor in museums and colleges.

“I’ve worked as a gallery assistant and an art handler on and off for the past 10 years in San Francisco, Connecticut, New York and in Los Angeles helping both established galleries and independent or academic spaces manage exhibitions,” he said.

Betthauser has been with the KCCD since 2013 as a Fine Arts instructor and has been there for the last two and a half years. He had been instructing an art history class at Cerro Coso, but now instructing specifically at Bakersfield College. This semester he is instructing the figure drawing class and since September has been the director of the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery.

The Gallery will be having three upcoming exhibits this semester. The first one will be the opening of the Panorama Invitational on Feb. 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Panorama Invitational is a juried show with art pieces selected by representative teachers from the high schools in Bakersfield.

In March, the gallery will be showing an exhibit of new artworks from Alaskan artist, Tom Chung. Tom Chung has his MFA from Yale University. Chung is living in Alaska and teaching at the University of Alaska. You can see some of his artwork on his website http://tomchung.org/

Following up in April, the gallery will be holding an exhibit consisting of Bakersfield College student’s works of art.

All openings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first Thursday that the exhibit is held.

“The primary mission of the Jones Gallery is to serve the community of Bakersfield College and the City of Bakersfield by exhibiting a diverse range of contemporary art made by developing artists living and working outside Kern County in addition to annually exhibiting artwork made by students at Bakersfield College, the arts faculty of Bakersfield College and high school art students from around Kern County,” said Betthauser.

The gallery’s hours this semester are going to be every Thursday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. instead of Monday through Thursday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the rest of the academic year.

“Although we would love to have the gallery open more, this new schedule seemed like it was the best way for us to serve the student body by keeping the gallery hours consistent and having the gallery open throughout the academic year,” said Betthauser.

“I don’t want to leave the gallery vacant, even during breaks, even if it’s just people peering through the window, I want to make sure people know the gallery is active.”

There was even an exhibit that was up during the winter break. You can view the art that was displayed on http://jonesgallery.tumblr.org/

Betthauser also deals with art in his own time off of campus. You can check out his artwork http://tombetthauser.tumblr.com/ Betthauser said that his Tumblr should be updated with some of his art from last year within the next month.

The Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery is located inside of the BC library, on the left hand side when you walk in the main doors.