Alumnus Returns to Head the Winthrop University Galleries

May 17, 2023


  • An artist and innovator originally from Charleston, Gentry earned a B.F.A. in sculpture from Winthrop. 
  • Gentry previously worked in multiple roles at the Arts Council of York County.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA—Winthrop University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts has appointed Mike Gentry ’08 as the new director of the Winthrop Galleries

The role is a homecoming of sorts for Gentry: as a student, he exhibited his artwork in the galleries, which include the Rutledge Gallery; the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery; and the Lewandowski Student Gallery. 

Karen Oremus, interim dean for the college, said they are thrilled to welcome Gentry.

“Through his leadership, we are excited for our students to gain hands-on experience in the installation and curatorial process when showcasing their work; to build stronger ties with our alumni through annual exhibitions and events in conjunction with homecoming; and to bring in innovative and interdisciplinary visual and performing art programming that aims to raise critical consciousness, to educate, transform, strengthen, build and widen our community on varying levels,” she said.

About Gentry 

An artist and innovator originally from Charleston, Gentry earned a B.F.A. in sculpture from Winthrop. During his undergraduate experience he spent a “transformative” semester studying abroad in Imatra, Finland, at South Karelia Polytechnic. 

Post-graduation, Gentry delved into developing the downtown Rock Hill arts scene as the gallery manager at the Arts Council of York County, where he immersed himself in every aspect of the exhibition process from practical installation to strategic planning and promotion of related events. He was promoted to galleries and facilities manager in 2021, which added the responsibilities of overseeing essential facility services, including coordinating capital upgrades and building improvements, as well as soliciting community support for the council’s annual fund. Of note: Gentry managed the major exhibition of works by internationally renowned artist Shepard Fairey, which coincided with Fairey creating two original murals downtown. 

Gentry has also served a pivotal role in the local music scene through his creation and ongoing management of Concerts at the Courtroom. 

Development Officer Debbie Garrick ’87, ’89 served on the galleries director search committee.

"I look forward to working with Mike to help us engage with donors as Winthrop continues to be a leader in the arts,” she said. “His passion for his alma mater combined with his local connections and strong skillset as an artist and a gallery administrator make him the right choice at the right time for Winthrop."

For more information on Winthrop Galleries, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2403 or

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