History Meets Art: Where “Everybody Gaines”


History and art collide at Texas A&M University with “Everybody Gaines,” a Reynolds Gallery exhibit in the Memorial Student Center. This exhibit, running from Jan. 14 through Feb. 29, is to honor Matthew Gaines, a senator and ex-slave who contributed to the beginnings of higher education in Texas.

Mary Compton, MSC program advisor to the student Visual Arts Committee, says the students of MSC VAC wanted to do something focused on the Matthew Gaines story. 

“The exhibit is the product of research done by the MSC Visual Arts Committee, along with help from the Matthew Gaines Initiative,” says Compton. “Not a whole lot of people know some of the details and facts about his life, so they [the students] wanted to showcase it.”

And “Everybody Gaines” isn’t the same as past exhibits. 

“We typically do art exhibits, so this is different in the sense that it’s historical information,” said Compton. “It’s based more on history than it is on the creative arts that we normally do.”

Gaines was Washington County’s first black state senator, and voted for Senate Bill 276 as a member of the 12th Texas Legislature. With his support, this bill allowed Texas to donate land for the establishment of agricultural and mechanical study universities — such as Texas A&M. Students have been campaigning since 1994 to memorialize Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature on campus.

The “Everybody Gaines” exhibit is in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M inside the Reynolds Gallery. It is located at 275 Joe Routt Blvd, College Station, TX 77843. For more information, or to find out about other events like this, visit vac.tamu.edu/ or email the MSC VAC at visualartscommittee@gmail.com.


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