Hiram Van Gordon Gallery



Monday - Thursday

10:00am - 4:00pm 


TSU Main Campus, 1108 37th Ave N
Elliott Hall, Room 118


About the Gallery

The Hiram Van Gordon Gallery offers approximately six exhibitions yearly that highlight the works of Tennessee State University students, faculty and alumni in the visual arts, African American and African artists, social and civic engaged work along with conversations regarding sustainable environmental practices in art.

The gallery is named after former Professor and Chair Hiram Van Gordon (1918-1979). Artist, Military cartographer and longtime chair of Tennessee State University’s Art Department was a graduate of Pearl High School and enrolled at Tennessee A&I in 1940. He enlisting in the Untied Sates Army in 1942, returning to attain his bachelors and Masters Degree in Art. He began his teaching in 1951, while still a student. In 1958 he began his twenty-one tenure of head of the department. 

Spring 2024 Gallery Schedule 


Identify Thyself

April 17- May 2 

Reception April 18 (Thursday) 5-7pm

The 2024 Seniors are ready to graduate! Each artist brings with them their unique perspective, drive and talent to the final exhibition in the Hiram Van Gordon Gallery. Interior Designers, Graphic Designers, Fashion and Studio artists all convene to show us what they have learned, thought and studied. 

Interior Designers: Jada Camille Bell, Morgan Burns, Khai Cole, Denaria Tindal

Graphic Designers: Matthew Avery, Ryan Hardin, Sean Wilder

Studio Art: Angela Majors (Fashion), Jaquira “Mercury” Polk

Identify Thyself seniors


Inside Blackness: Illuminating the Black Psyche in the Interior Landscape

Inside Blackness flyer

February 26 to March 28 2024

Reception on March 20, Wednesday from 5-7pm

Guests of honor: JoEl Logiudice, President, Tennessee Craft

Curators: Cynthia Gadsden, PhD, Associate Professor, Art History, Department of Art and Design, Tennessee State University and Karlota I. Contreras-Koterbay, Director, Slocumb Galleries, East Tennessee State University

Presented by Crafting Blackness Initiative and Tennessee Craft with support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, East Tennessee Foundation and SouthArts.

Artists: Omari Booker, Sean Clark, Tina Curry, Kimberly Dummons, Samuel Dunson, Kelsie Dulaney-Hayworth, Alicia Henry, Barbara & Leroy Hodges, Elise Kendrick, Desmond Lewis, Michael McBride, Aundra McCoy, Carl Moore, Lakesha Moore Calvin, Charlie Newton, David Quarles, Jessica Scott Felder, Gary L. White, Carlton Wilkinson, Nija Woods, Kevin Wurm, with poet Nikki Giovanni.

What is blackness? Much of what is attributed to blackness is simple exterior window dressing—black or brown skin, curly/kinky hair, broad nose, full lips, thick waist and wide hips, strong, athletic physique, and on and on. Yet, blackness is more than just physical appearance. Blackness is equally a mindset, vibe, attitude, gaze and psychology visualized as place. Blackness embodies interiority, or the interior landscape that is unbounded, wide, and deep. It is a wellspring of creativity, imagination, freedom, originality, desire, brilliance, knowing, vitality, wisdom, radiance, richness, and intellect. These are just a few of the characteristics found in this vast universe.

How can such a rich, fertile landscape exist, but go unrecognized? One reason may be the concept of concealing/revealing knowledge. Within numerous African cultural groups, the conceal/reveal concept relates to when, how, and with whom knowledge is shared. For such community-oriented cultures, knowledge is a precious resource that must be maintained and managed with care and reverence. For African Americans, along with other cultural groups throughout the African diaspora, this concept has been woven into their cultural fabric, and has served to benefit individuals and the larger community. Black people’s knowledge of when and how to judiciously conceal and/or reveal their interior landscape has been life-saving and life-giving.

Inside Blackness: Illuminating the Black Psyche in the Interior Landscape offers a nod to the essence and existence of black interiority. The exhibition aims to make space for diverse conversation about, around, and through blackness from an inside perspective. In addition, the hope is to present a multifaceted dialogue about the diversity, richness, and abundance of the black interior space. Finally, Inside Blackness strives to provide unique insight into the African American experience through the interior experiential lens.


Virtual Artist Talks

in Space for New Media (unless noted otherwise)

Our artists' talks and lectures are geared at creating forums for artists and students to talk about their work in a supportive open environment. In the process of creating a line up of artists and speakers that relate back to our exhibit schedule in the Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, Space for New Media, and M-SPAR, connecting what is learned in classroom courses and seminars to real-world applications. We will invite organizations and artists from a variety of perspectives to talk about their work. You can view previous lectures on our YouTube channel TSU Art and Design. 

ART Talk

Spring 2024

Native Resonance - Webinar #2 Hybrid: Monday, April 15th at 5pm - 7pm

Join us for a panel discussion with five different Native artists from various Tribes to discuss the Native Resonance cohort and their Traditional art practices. Through engaging discussions led by Shayna Hobbs, NAIA Arts & Education Outreach Lead, we will delve into the importance of preserving Indigenous traditions, languages, and arts.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to connect with experts and gain valuable insights. The community is welcome to attend in person at TSU’s Space for New Media or virtually through the Zoom link.

Let’s celebrate Native Resonance together!

Thanks NAIA and the Native Resonance cohort


Past Exhibitions


Space for New Media

new media gallery

The Space for New Media gives students and artists a place to produce and display digital, experimental, and performance-based work, using our state of equipment to bring innovative ideas and images to campus.

Past Student Residency 

Chaz Presents A Thin Line, by Chaz Baylin

February 17-18, 2023

Interactive Multimedia Experience

Photography and Digital Presentation, Interactive Photo booths, and Music

A Thin Line

McGruder Social Practice Artist Residency, M-SPAR

The McGruder Social Practice Artist Residency, M-SPAR provides artists opportunities to impact the social landscape and engage with McGruder Family Resource Center, local Historic Black College and University’s (HBCU), and the community of North Nashville. Artists engage with community through an artist’s residency. Artists are provided studio space in exchange for community activated work leading to the conception, development, and execution of viable, transformative art projects.  

Art Collection

Over the years the art department has amassed a permanent collection of African and Alumni artwork in a few notable collections: the Art Eubanks Collection, the Ruth Witt Collection, and the Dr. Richard and Sharon Edwards Collection.


1108 37th Ave N 

Parking Pass

Elliott Hall is locate on the back side of Tennessee State University main campus. From I-40 East, take a Right on 28th Ave/Ed Temple then Left on Walter S Davis. Left on 39th Ave N, Left on John L Driver Ave, past the guard station, Left on 37th Ave N.

From I-40 West, turn left of Jefferson St. take a Right on 28th Ave/Ed Temple then Left on Walter S Davis. Left on 39th Ave N, Left on John L Driver Ave, past the guard station, Left on 37th Ave N.

From Charlotte Ave, take a Right on 28th Ave/Ed Temple then Left on Walter S Davis. Left on 39th Ave N, Left on John L Driver Ave, past the guard station, Left on 37th Ave N. 

Parking is lots K and L. Enter Elliott Hall from front of building and proceed to back right side, enter Hiram Van Gordon Gallery.

map to Elliott Hall on Tennessee State University

Contact Us

Courtney Adair Johnson
Gallery Director

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