Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries

We're Hiring!


The Director and Curator of the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries will contribute to the university’s strategic goals, helping to establish ODU as a comprehensive center for the arts, conceptualizing arts and humanities as crosscutting and integral to all disciplines. Develop and implement original folk, traditional, and self-taught exhibitions and programming, oversee and implement creative concepts, strategic vision, and branding for all rotating exhibitions, the university’s permanent collection and related publications and Galleries staffing, and contribute curatorial efforts to the university’s annual campus theme and public art initiatives.

Learn more and apply through April 12, 2024

Now On View

Jake McCord Gallery

Paintings from the Porch: Works by Jake McCord
On view Jan. 12 - May 4, 2024
Opening Reception: Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.

Jake McCord (1945 - 2009) of Thomson, Georgia grew up planting and picking crops on his family's farm. He later cut grass and drove a truck for that city, which recognized him as an exceptionally hard worker. In the mid-1980s McCord began to paint and took inspiration from his life and several television sets running simultaneously in his home. He installed paintings on his front porch for passersby to see and would allow them to be sold only after feeling they had been on view for the right amount of time. McCord described his depictions of people, animals, and scenes as jolly, which helped keep him company and which he hoped would help those who saw his work. This exhibition presents a number of those jolly paintings from the porch.

Living with Art: My Journey to Collect
Tuesday, March 12 at 12:30 p.m. EST

Collector of self-taught, folk, and outsider art, Chris Ross shares insights from his passion.
Stream the event here

2024 Juried Student Exhibition

2024 Juried Student Exhibition
Opening Reception: February 29, 6 - 8 p.m.
On view: Mar. 1, 2024 - Apr. 6, 2024

Featuring artwork from students actively working in the ODU Art Department Studio Arts programs, and selected by a juror who is an active professional within the Visual Arts.

Recently On View

Feb. 3 - May 6, 2023

Sam Bartlett: Low Stakes, Plywood Cutouts & Everyday Comix

Opening Reception: Feb. 2, 6 - 8 p.m.

Sam Bartlett is an American folk artist, public-art instigator, cartoonist, performer, musician, and composer. 

As an artist, Sam specializes in painting and cutting sculptures from salvaged wood. He derives inspiration from the naturally low stakes involved in using free materials. 

Sam does virtually no planning or sketching for his artwork, preferring to try to harness the energy of a first take. Common themes in his work include complex physical relationships between people, things on top of other things, things being bitten and eaten, old-time and Irish music communities, and mortality. He has been strongly influenced by artists Peter Schumann, Howard Finster, and Gustav Vigeland.

Concrete Ocean

Concrete Ocean: Works by Leigh Merrill
On view Jan.12 through Feb 17, 2024
Opening Reception: Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.

“Culling through thousands of individual photographs and videos I make of architecture and landscaping; I digitally assemble these sources to create my work. Some images have veracity, but more often, they suggest a visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small object or detail. I am continually fascinated with photography’s ability to be evidence of existence – creating an image with seeming veracity – and simultaneously, a system to mediate and construct reality. I use photography to observe and then digitally combine my photographs to construct spaces that do not exist, allowing the creation of images that, through metaphor and illusion, reveal both the desire and simulacrum present around us and within photography itself.”

Gordon the Robot


Affectionately nicknamed "Gordon" after the art galleries' namesakes—Baron and Ellin Gordon—this innovative telepresence robot allows remote visits from around the world.

Gordon can move around the space, raise and lower height, and zoom in on art. The remote driver can interact live with staff in the galleries and also invite friends, colleagues, and students to join their visit.

Follow @oduarts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates.

Proceeds support arts programming and educational opportunities at ODU.

Past Exhibitions


Muhammad Ansi, 2016, Untitled (Hands Holding Flowers through Bars), Acrylic on paper. 8.5 x 11 inches

Jan. 21 - May 7, 2022

Art from Guantánamo Bay

RESCHEDULED Opening Reception Jan. 27, 6 - 8 p.m.

Detainees at the United States military prison camp known as Guantánamo Bay have made art from the time they arrived. The Art from Guantánamo Bay exhibition features 101 of these evocative works, made by men held without trial, some for more than 15 years. The six artists include both current (Moath Al Alwi and Ahmed Rabbani) and former (Muhammad Ansi, Abdualmalik (Alrahabi) Abud, Sabri Al Qurashi, Mansoor Adayfi) detainees, none of whom have been charged with committing a crime.

Most pieces in the exhibition were taken from Guantánamo by the detainees' attorneys for this showing and following a laborious process of searching, scanning, and analysis for hidden messages by Guantánamo officials. A stamp reading "Approved by US Forces" signals that a work has been cleared, and the stamp's ink often bleeds through to the image on the other side, creating a ghostly mix of art and authority.

Art from Guantánamo Bay includes drawings and paintings as well as sculptures crafted with the few materials permitted to detainees, including model ships made from shirt scraps, prayer caps, razors, and mops. As former detainee Mansoor Adayfi explains in his New York Times essay "In Our Prison on the Sea," the sea "means freedom that no one can control or own, freedom for everyone." Although detainees were held close to the sea, tarps blocked their view until they were removed for four days in 2014 in anticipation of a hurricane; after that, Adayfi recalls, "all of those who could draw made drawings about the sea."

Follow @oduarts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for forthcoming public programming.

DesignHer: Works by Contemporary Women Graphic Designers

Aug. 30 - Nov. 12, 2022

DesignHer: Works by Contemporary Women Graphic Designers

Closing Reception Nov. 10, 6 - 8 p.m.

DesignHer is an exhibition of contemporary graphic design focusing on women practitioners. Highlighting how women have been at the forefront of defining and challenging the conceptions of design, the exhibition presents a sampling of the various purposes design is put to in our culture and the motivations that prompted its use. Participants range from younger artists building a reputation to internationally renowned leaders in the discipline, and works range from individually crafted objects to mass media campaigns.

Recent Program

Gain insight from juror Carl Floyd Medley III and students of the 2021 Juried Student Exhibition in this in-depth look at the show! Congratulations to students Lyn Dowling ('21), Andre Jacobs ('21), and Korrine Maher ('21) whose artwork has been selected by the ODU President and First Lady from the Juried Student Exhibition for display in the Jacobson House presidential residence for the 2021-2022 academic year!

About the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries exhibit works by nationally and internationally recognized self-taught artists, contemporary artists working in all media, and local and regional artists connected with Old Dominion University.