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About Kitao Gallery

Kitao Gallery is Swarthmore College's official student-run art gallery. Our mission is to provide the Swarthmore Community with a space where they can practice, experience, and appreciate the arts. We exhibit student art and organize art-oriented events, like workshops, open mics, and art festivals. All students are also free to partake in open studio hours hosted weekly. We often collaborate with other groups on campus for events and exhibitions. Previous exhibitions include the Ecofeminism Art Show, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and more. Members of Kitao can also participate in field trips to art museums in Philly. Located behind the tennis courts by Olde Club and the WRC, Kitao Gallery is open year round to all students and student groups who want to utilize the space. 


The Kitao Gallery space was acquired in 1999 through the joint efforts of the Student Art Association and the Photography Club. The Student Art Association won the referendum against SCCS to become the only public student art space for students. Previous to 1999, the beautiful Tudor style building was merely used for storage and small events. Renovation of the space was completed in 2000. In May 2001, the gallery was dedicated to beloved retired art history professor, T. Kaori Kitao.


Kaori Kitao was born in Japan in 1933 and came to the U.S. to study in 1952. According to many, she always sees the art in everyday things and is incredibly warm, supportive, and witty. Kitao taught renaissance art history and is a true renaissance woman herself: she is multilingual, plays the cello, contains a wealth of art history knowledge that ranges from architecture to baroque decoration, and was responsible for launching what is now Swarthmore’s film and media studies department with her cinema class. During her impressive career at Swarthmore, which spanned 35 years, Kaori Kitao was a true force on campus. Kitao Gallery aims to maintain the legacy of this truly pioneering queer woman of color.


Interested in setting up your own studio hours, where you can use our supplies to make your wonderful art?  Do you want to learn when will be holding our next gallery opening? Or our next workshop? Check out our social media platforms, or contact us if you have any questions!