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Grinnell College Museum of Art opens inaugural exhibition on Aug. 23

The museum’s collection provides opportunities for engagement, teaching and research

Installation view of “Repeat, Reveal, React: Identities in Flux,” an exhibition of works from the Museum of Art’s collection curated in 2010 by students under the guidance of Jenny Anger, Grinnell College professor of art history. Photo by Daniel Strong.

GRINNELL, Iowa — The Grinnell College Museum of Art, formerly known as the Faulconer Gallery, will open its inaugural exhibition Friday, Aug. 23. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will run through Dec. 14 in the college’s Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. 

“For Campus and Community: The Collection of the Grinnell College Museum of Art” celebrates the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Faulconer Gallery and highlights the museum’s wide-ranging collection of artworks spanning the centuries and the globe. 

Works in the exhibition, curated by Daniel Strong and Kay Wilson, include prints by Francisco Goya and Pablo Picasso, a mobile by Alexander Calder and more recent works by contemporary artists such as Willie Cole, William Villalongo and Kara Walker. 

Many of those works are by artists whom the college has brought to town over the past 20 years for exhibitions, lectures, workshops, short courses and residencies. They include Canadian painter Charles Bierk, American photographer Sandy Skoglund and South African multimedia artists William Kentridge and Diane Victor.

The Faulconer’s opening in 1999 dramatically increased the presence of art on the Grinnell College campus. Since then the museum has hosted myriad exhibitions of regional, national and international art and artists and grown the art collection to more than 5,000 objects. The gallery also has expanded outreach initiatives such as lectures, readings, concerts, performances, activities for children and families, and even yoga.

The name Faulconer Gallery will be retained for the exhibition space, which honors the intentions of the donors – the late Vernon Faulconer, a 1961 Grinnell graduate, and Amy Hamamoto Faulconera 1959 Grinnell graduate. 

“Faulconer Gallery has grown far beyond a single exhibition space,” said Lesley Wright, director of the gallery and the museum. “The 20th anniversary of the opening of Faulconer Gallery is an important milestone that gives us the opportunity to rededicate the gallery as the Grinnell College Museum of Art. The new name conveys all that we do and ties us clearly to Grinnell College.”

“For Campus and Community” rightly gives pride of place to the museum’s extraordinary collection of works of art from antiquity to the present day, Wright said. “It’s a rich resource for inquiry and inspiration,” she added, “as well as pure visual delight.” 

Much of the collection is works on paper and resides in the Print and Drawing Study Room in Burling Library. “For Campus and Community” also is a chance to see significant works of art that are often in storage.

Grinnell College will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of Faulconer Gallery with a birthday party from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts at Sixth Avenue and Park Street in Grinnell. The celebration will include a gallery talk by visiting artist Damon Davis, who will be on campus from Sept. 9 through Oct. 4.

A St. Louis-based visual artist, musician and filmmaker, Davis created a print series and public art installation “All Hands On Deck” in response to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The series will be on display in “For Campus and Community.”  

While at Grinnell, Davis will develop new work, meet with classes and take part in public events. He will also hold public conversations at 4 p.m. Sept. 13 and 19 and Oct. 4. Additional exhibition events include:

  • Community Day, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Oct. 5. The museum will lead activities and art projects for people of all ages.
  • 20 Minutes@11: Kay Wilson, 11 a.m. Oct. 8. The curator of the museum’s collection for 36 years will speak about the evolution of the collection and selected works in the inaugural exhibition.
  • Native Identity and the U.S. Higher Education System, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12. Carrie Billy, president and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, will share her personal story of challenge, opportunity and resilience. 
  • 20 Minutes@11: Daniel Strong, 11 a.m. Nov. 26. The associate director and curator of exhibitions will talk about themes in the museum’s collection and selected works on view in the inaugural exhibition. 
  • 20 Minutes@11: Sounding the Collection, 11 a.m. Dec. 3. Eric McIntyre, Grinnell College professor of music and composer, hornist and designer of instruments made from found objects, will premiere a series of short compositions inspired by works in the exhibition. 

The Grinnell College Museum of Art, which is free and open to the public, is based in Grinnell College’s Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. 

The museum provides an open door to world-class exhibitions, collections and programs for the campus community and the general public. It is a hub for intellectual exchange and innovative learning and offers an opportunity to explore social issues through artistic expression.

Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The gallery is closed on Sundays and major holidays, such as Thanksgiving Day. More information about the museum is available at

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college’s website: Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or

Minors under age 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Damon Davis, “All Hands On Deck #3,” 2015, Suite of six lithographs with graphite on paper. © Damon Davis, image courtesy of Wildwood Press, St. Louis.

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