This Century Art Gallery Becomes Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center

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Tempy Barbru, Jane Medlin and Susan pose with the new logo for Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center.
Tempy Barbru, Jane Medlin and Susan Burkart pose with the new logo for Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center.

This Century Art Gallery is officially changing its name to Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center.

This change has been a long time in the works, as members increasingly realized the organization’s name was misleading people to believe that it was just a gallery, said Tempy Barbru, the center’s executive director.

In reality, the business on North Boundary Street in Merchants Square had long offered a variety of community outreach programs and art classes in addition to maintaining their downtown gallery, so the new name was selected to reflect the entirety of the services offered.

“We’ve always been more than a gallery. Sometimes we just haven’t told that story as well as we could,” Barbru said.

Over the past eight months a series of focus groups considered a variety of names and logos. Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center was ultimately selected because of the organization’s commitment to showcasing contemporary art from its earliest days.

“We started as 20th Century Art Gallery, and the goal was to bring contemporary art to an 18th century capital. There’s a misconception that contemporary means very modern, when in fact it just means it’s ‘of the present.’ That’s still what we want to do,” Susan Burkart said.

This decades-long commitment to contemporary arts in a variety of media is what inspired the decision to include “contemporary” in the new name. That, coupled with the change from “gallery” to “center,” captured the essence of the mission of the organization.

Designing the new logo was another challenge. The board worked with Howell Design Group to come up with a logo that was “both playful and serious” and differentiated its organization from An Occasion for the Arts and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center by avoiding primary colors, Burkart said.

Members of WCAC expect the roll out of the rebranding campaign to begin slowly but gain speed throughout the summer. Though at the moment the rebranding is limited to the new name and logo, they are hopeful these changes are the first step toward larger improvements, like an expansion into a new space.

“It was clear that branding was mandatory to come before building,” Barbru said.

As for changes to the overall mission that TCAG has operated under for the past five decades, patrons can expect WCAC to continue to offer the same quality community initiatives, outreach programs, and education options it always has.

As the transitional tagline proudly proclaims, Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center is “New Name, Same Mission: This Century Art Gallery Re-imagined.”