WCMA Chosen One of Top College Art Museums
A list of the top twenty best college art museums appeared this month on complex.com’s website section Complex Art & Design, and WCMA weighs in at #18. While there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to the order of this list (Yale University Art Gallery is ranked as #20, while Arizona State University Art Museum is placed as #2), it is still nice to see WCMA getting the recognition the institution deserves. The entry describes the College Art Museum in glowing terms: “The energy and experimental attitude bursting out of the Williams College Museum of Art is critical to the cultural fabric of Williamstown, an art oasis in far western Massachusetts. Known for their stellar collections of American art, modern and contemporary photography, and Indian painting, WCMA is also the site of endless curatorial and research opportunities for students and professionals alike.”
Check the list out for yourself at:
WCMA has never felt more alive than today. The museum began with Lawrence Hall’s formal designation as the College Museum in 1920. Shortly after, museum founder and first director Karl Weston established WCMA to provide students with firsthand art-viewing opportunities in 1926. Weston’s successor and student Lane Faison’s long tenure as the museum’s director brought expansions of the collection as well as of the space. Under the prescient eye of Tom Krens, these physical expansions culminated in Charles Moore’s expansion plan, replete with “ironic” columns. Also under Krens, the scholarly Prendergast catalogue raisonné project began; it led to a long-standing relationship with the Prendergast Foundation that culminated in the Prendergast Archive & Study Center. Today, the museum is on the cusp of introducing our new student art loan project to bring artworks to students’ dorm rooms. The project brings Weston’s plan to give students opportunities for first-hand art viewing into the very twenty-first century, 24/7 realm of today’s young internet trolls. Serving the students and faculty of Williams as well as the Williamstown and greater Berkshires communities, WCMA is busy serving a variety of cultural purposes. So glad that others see our own WCMA as a vibrant, vital space, too!
—Jane Becker, WCMA blog writer