Gail Benedict is using art as a bridge between the local community and UC Merced.
Benedict, administrative coordinator for the office of Mary Miller, vice chancellor for administration at UC Merced, is an artist herself. Several of her paintings hang on the walls of UC Merced police offices and other buildings on campus.
She not only promotes her work, but also the work of other local artists.
Among the many activities Benedict does on campus and out in the community is helping display photography of local photographers at UC Merced.
"My most favorite part of all this is connecting the community of Merced to UC Merced," said the 57-year-old.
But that's not all she does.
Benedict organizes the annual Bobcat Art Show on campus and is also involved with the Arts UC Merced Presents, a series of several art events she helps put on throughout the year.
She's also been active in local art organizations, providing her with a strong link to the community.
Benedict said people in the community often feel like they're not welcome or authorized to be on campus. To help change that, she encourages community members to attend the on-campus events that she helps organize. "It gives them a perfect reason to come up and walk around campus," she said.
Having the renovated Merced Theatre open "creates a new avenue to connect the community with the campus," Benedict said.
In fact, she has a scheduled meeting with the manager of the theater to see how they can work together. Benedict said sometimes departments on campus have events and there's not enough space in the university's auditorium.
In the future, departments will have the option to consider hosting those events at the Merced Theatre. "It would help the businesses," she said.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or email@example.com.
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