Finding moments of calm at the Yale British Art Center

I may be a Computer Science major, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the incredible humanities spaces we have on campus–in fact, I’ve almost been more drawn toward them as a sort of counterbalance to my studies. In particular, The Yale Center for British Art has been a place for me to slow down, reflect, and simply enjoy.

When I first visited campus for Bulldog Days (Yale’s admit weekend), I somehow ended up at the Center for British Art. I wandered in and was immediately struck by the tranquility of the space, the art that drips from the walls and quietly beckons you to stay awhile. And I did. Ever since, I’ve visited the Center at least once a semester, usually toward the end of the term.

The gallery has four floors, featuring both temporary exhibitions and mainstays from the permanent collection. Whenever I go back, it’s fun to both revisit my old favorites and discover new pieces (along with the British historical context behind them). The balance between the old and the new is exactly what I need at the end of the semester, as I want to ground myself after a crazy amount of work and look forward to the months ahead.

One of my favorite spaces in the Center is the Long Gallery, featured in the photo above. As its name suggests, this long room is filled with paintings from floor to ceiling, literally. There’s so much to take in with each individual work, but experiencing the room as a whole is really cool too. I can spend a while just taking in the aura. There’s this one statue in the room that’s always on display, although the art on the wall behind it often changes. Every year, I’ve taken a photo imitating the statue–it’s been a sort of funny timeline of my Yale experience. I’ll need to take a photo for senior year soon :)


I often visit with my friend Allison (who do you think took the statue photos?). Since there’s always a new exhibition going on, it’s walk through the gallery with her, pointing out our favorites and comparing works. One of the most interesting pieces from a couple years ago was a mosaic of Queen Elizabeth made from mirror shards. Naturally, we had to take a photo:

While the gallery is constantly evolving, it still retains a magnificent permanent collection and a peaceful atmosphere that keeps me coming back. As things get increasingly busy leading up to graduation, I can definitely see myself making a few more visits.