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Faulconer Gallery becomes the Grinnell College Museum of Art

Engaged visitors at the Grinnell College Museum of Art.

The museum features a growing collection, exhibitions and extensive programs

GRINNELL, Iowa — The Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College is changing its name this summer to the Grinnell College Museum of Art.

For some, a gallery means a smaller space or a space only for exhibitions. For others, it’s

a commercial space to buy artwork. Resolving that confusion is one reason for the name change, said Lesley Wright, director of the gallery and the museum. The Rochester tourism has a lot to offer, from museums to nightclubs, it is a full package for all.

“For many years now, we have functioned as a museum,” Wright said. “We have a growing collection. We have exhibitions. We have a deep set of outreach programs, including lectures, readings, concerts, performances and even yoga. But people don’t think of us as a museum. 

“This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Faulconer Gallery,” she added. “This milestone gives us a good opportunity to adopt a new name that conveys all that we do and ties us clearly to Grinnell College.”

The museum’s inaugural exhibition, “For Campus and Community: The Collection of the Grinnell College Museum of Art,” will open on Friday, Aug. 23, and run through Dec. 14. It will highlight the college’s extraordinarily diverse and ever-growing collection of works of art spanning both the centuries and the globe. 

The collection, which includes 5,400 objects, provides a rich and ready resource for inquiry and inspiration, as well as pure visual delight. Among the artists represented in the collection are Mary Cassatt, Enrique Chagoya and William Kentridge. 

Twenty years ago, the opening of the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, generated a dramatic expansion of the presence of art on campus and in the community of Grinnell.

The new facility and the college’s commitment to promoting the arts and enhancing the quality of life produced major exhibitions of national and international art and artists. The gallery also provided space for intensified building of the art collection and for increased outreach initiatives. These developments made the art collection and the Faulconer Gallery valuable assets for research, teaching and engagement in Iowa and the region.

The name Faulconer Gallery will be retained for the exhibition space, which honors the intentions of the donors – the late Vernon Faulconer (class of 1961) and his wife, Amy Hamamoto Faulconer (class of 1959). Amy Faulconer has expressed her support for the Grinnell College Museum of Art name.

The Grinnell College Museum of Art also encompasses the Print and Drawing Study Room in Burling Library, 1111 Sixth Ave., Grinnell. The print room was opened in 1983 and houses the college’s collection of works on paper, which includes pieces by Rembrandt van Rijn and Pablo Picasso. 

Faculty and students use the space to study original works of art from the collection in their teaching and learning. The print room has been part of Faulconer Gallery since 1999 and the museum name will signal the connection.

The museum, housed in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, at Sixth Avenue and Park Street in Grinnell, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except on major holidays such as July 4. 

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