Thacher Gallery Offers Art and Community Thanks to Namesake Donors

by Robin Dutton-Cookston, Office of Development Communications

The Mary and Carter Thacher Gallery at USF continues to be a collaborative and welcoming space for arts and community thanks to the ongoing support of Carry and John Thacher. The couple recently committed their second five-year pledge to the gallery, which was founded by Mary Thacher, John Thacher’s mother and former member of the Board of Trustees.

“We believe that everyone should have access to the arts. The Thacher Gallery is important to our family as a space that provides free access to creative, values-focused arts experiences. We are thrilled to continue our commitment to this important cornerstone of USF campus life,” said Carry Thacher.

Two people talking and looking at art
Student docents Hannah Lehmkul and Jabor Al Dosari.

The Thacher Gallery sits in the heart of campus and focuses on art from California with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary dialogue and social justice. The space is open to the community at no charge and offers programs, tours, workshops, special events, and pop-up exhibitions for USF students, faculty, staff, and outside visitors.

The gallery also serves as a hands-on learning environment for students interested in museum studies or arts management.

“The support of the Thacher family through the years has enabled the gallery to evolve our professional training programs for students,” said Glori Simmons, director of the Thacher Gallery.

“This year, we piloted a docent training program for undergraduates. These undergraduates from the Department of Art + Architecture have led over two dozen class tours of Yolanda M. López: Women’s Work is Never Done, reaching nearly 500 students across the disciplines—from finance to design, fine arts to computer science.”

The gallery’s current exhibition features prints, photographs, drawings, and more from Yolanda M López, California-based feminist and Latinx activist and artist, as curated by her archivist, Angelica Rodriguez, and son, Rio Yañez. Exhibitions in the Thacher Gallery rotate throughout the year creating opportunities to weave in classroom experiences, lectures, and performances.

“Funding from donors allows us to create exhibitions and programs that carry out Catholic Jesuit values of equity and inclusion not only in our programming, but also in our internal practices by striving to compensate artists fairly, centering underrepresenting expert voices across the disciplines, and inviting the community into these dialogues free of charge,” said Simmons.

The Thacher Gallery is just one example of USF’s renewed commitment to enhancing arts education across disciplines. The Ann Getty School of Art and Design, launched with a $15 million gift from the Getty Foundation, will create more spaces and opportunities for cross-collaboration in visual and performing arts so that the Thacher Gallery and other arts programs can grow and flourish.

“Philanthropic support has been essential in the Thacher Gallery’s ability to complete essential facilities updates in order to create a sustainable and inviting arts space for the USF community,” said Simmons.

Contact Eden Ballard at for more information on the Ann Getty Institute of Art and Design. Learn more about how you can support the arts at USF.