The Art Museum will provide a welcoming and stimulating educational environment for diverse audiences to experience the transformative power of visual art. By exploring the varied artistic traditions of different cultures, past and present, visitors gain a better understanding of themselves, their communities, and their world.
Programs that support this mission include exhibitions organized from the museum’s collection, which includes paintings, prints and works on paper, sculpture, ceramics, and folk art. The Art Museum will also bring touring exhibits to Morgantown. In conjunction with its various exhibits, the museum will present artist demonstrations, workshops, school programs, lectures, concerts, and theatrical performances that expand upon the exhibit themes and engage a range of multi-generational audiences in active learning across the disciplines.
Located on the Evansdale campus, the new Art Museum of WVU will feature two distinct and integrated facilities and an outdoor sculpture garden.
Museum Education Center: In 2010, the University completed renovation of an existing two-story building, the former Erickson Alumni Center designed by noted architect Michael Graves, to accommodate:
- Museum offices for staff
- Grand Hall for educational programs, including lectures, musical and theatrical performances
- Future rental facility for meetings, receptions and dinners
- Future bookstore/gift shop with refreshments
The Art Museum: Expected to open in 2015, a new museum facility will be constructed between the Museum Education Center and the College of Creative Arts. Designed to
meet professional museum criteria, the museum will include:
- Two art galleries totaling approximately 5,400 square-feet of exhibition space
built to environmental standards for temperature, humidity, and light levels to required for the safe display of works of art
- Collection research and study room for examination of works of art
- Collection storage area to securely protect and preserve works of art
- Lobby space to welcome and orient museum visitors
- University classroom with electronic technology for 25 students
In the future, an outdoor sculpture garden will offer museum visitors a place to relax and contemplate works of art in a lovely setting.
The current collection of nearly 3,000 works of art, international in scope, has been created through private gifts, alumni donations, and purchases. Some of the many strengths of the collection include paintings by Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Cole, Jean Metzinger and Rockwell Kent, as well as the largest public collection of art by American Modernist Blanche Lazzell. Within the prints and works on paper collection are works by such artists as Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Stanley William Hayter, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, along with prints by contemporary artists William Kentridge, Kara Walker, Leslie Dill, Willie Cole and Ed Ruscha. The Asian collection contains significant historic works including Chinese scroll paintings, Japanese prints, Korean Silla pottery, and works from Thailand and India. The Harry Shaw Collection boasts over 160 examples of contemporary ceramics. The Leonhart Collection of African art presents a range of works that include ritual objects, textiles and jewelry.
Two endowment funds already exist in the College of Creative Arts that support acquisitions of art among other purposes, and a third endowment fund specifically designated for acquisitions for the Art Museum was established in December 2010. Announcements of the Art Museum have stirred a new level of interest and excitement from prospective donors whose collections contain museum-quality art. The WVU Foundation receives gifts of art on behalf of the Art Museum as well as financial contributions designated to support of the Museum.
The Friends of the Art Museum, established in 2010 with 171 charter members, is a membership group designed for people who enjoy social, educational, and cultural activities with a specific focus on art. Events include gatherings with artists, curators, and collectors, behind-the-scenes tours of collections, visits to the homes of private collectors and artists’ studios, and themed dinners created especially for members. Annual dues are tax-deductible and help to support the Art Museum of WVU.