Three galleries with a single purpose

University museums feature paintings, sculptures and avant-garde installations

by Jenny Phan

Besides the rise in jaywalking tickets, file-sharing lawsuits, tuition increases, road rage blow-outs, the new or returning student at the University will have the opportunity to experience something more positive – a growth in the arts.

Former University President Lotus Coffman was first to implement the idea of a museum on campus. The idea of art on campus remains important. There are three major museums on campus working to increase awareness of visual art. The collaboration among the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Weisman Art Museum and the Goldstein Museum of Design is building an unbreakable front that promotes art on campus.

The Nash Gallery was created by Katherine Nash and was originally located in the basement of Willey Hall. Nash envisioned the gallery being an educational resource and inspiration for students. “She was the driving force behind the Nash,” gallery director Nick Shank said.

The Nash Gallery will complete the new Arts Quarter with its move to the West Bank, making the University the only major university with all its fine arts located in one complete neighborhood. The Nash Gallery is now located just behind the Rarig Center on the south side of the West Bank.

This magnificent gallery focuses on freedom of expression. By making use of its public spaces, the building that houses the Nash Gallery is a museum in itself. The walls and hallways wind around to bend and adjust to the needs of artists, mainly students and faculty.

The gallery’s walls are covered with various pieces ranging from two-dimensional paintings to electronic installations and even to audio pieces that echo through the hallways. It is a powerhouse of art education.

The famous shining silver facade of the Weisman Art Museum, located just off Washington Avenue, is an architectural masterpiece. The location at the end of the East Bank in the center of the University is perfect for the goals of the museum. College is the perfect time to experiment and expand your views, and this is what the Weisman tries to embed in its presence. Art can “bring enrichments to our lives,” Weisman director Lyndel King said.

The Weisman’s collection is diverse. Major works include pieces from Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer. To build the groundwork for students in art, the museum highlights major artists. The museum is an “entry-level museum,” King said. “Come in, take a look around.” This is not to say that the Weisman does not mount serious exhibitions. However, its main focus is on making a broad variety of fine art accessible to the public.

The Goldstein Museum began with the Goldstein sisters, Harriet and Vetta, who believed their love for the arts became their life and personality. Their goals for teaching design led them to collecting what are now the major items in the museum’s collection.

The museum collects costumes, decorative arts, graphic designs and textiles. The presence of the Goldstein offers the University a different version of art.

Even though the Goldstein Museum is specifically geared toward design, you do not have to be a designer or design student to appreciate the objects therein. The Goldstein reaches outside the stereotypical art forms and opens our eyes to different kinds of art.

The University’s growing involvement in the arts is positive and rewarding for students. With the Nash Gallery, the Weisman Museum and the Goldstein Museum all actively participating, accessibility to the arts on campus can only increase.

As Lotus Coffman once said, “There is need for new values to sustain the morale of individuals in the days ahead. The arts are a source of such values and I want this university to play a leading part in instilling them.”