Hidden gems in our University Collection

TERRAN WARDEN; Mast Radio Arts & Culture Producer; wardentc@plu.edu 

If you’re familiar with Ingram Hall – I’m looking at you communication and art majors – you may have noticed a change on the walls this last week.

Several of the art pieces that hang on the walls were replaced with different pieces, an ongoing effort by Professor Heather Matthews.

“The main goal is to make it [the university collection] as public as much as we can and take care of it well” says Matthews.

Our university’s collection contains over five hundred pieces of art from hundreds of different artists, both local and internationally well-known. The variety of pieces encompasses every style and topic of art – from surrealist to abstract, from traditional watercolor to experimental mediums.

Because the five hundred pieces include unframed pieces and damaged pieces awaiting restoration, around two hundred fifty pieces are available for viewing.

The collection is now static with the storage space in Ingram Hall at capacity but occasionally pieces are donated by artists after a show.

For the past five years, Matthews has worked to display different selections of art from the collection at the University Gallery in Ingram Hall. This year’s exhibit which focused on story telling has already passed but another exhibit will be displayed a different selection and different theme next September.

While the collection contains many local and regionally known artists, the collection contains internationally well-known artists – both historic and contemporary.

One of the historic and well-known pieces in the collection is a 1907 etching titled The Ploughmen, from the series “The Peasants’ War” by German artist Käthe Kolwitz.

“As a German specialist that for me is the greatest thing we have” says Matthews.

For those who are not big art lovers or art historians, you are sure to recognize the name Pablo Picasso. The university collection contains not one but two pieces from one of the greatest and most influential artists of the twentieth century.

The Picasso pieces of the collection are lithograph prints which are created in editions. The most recognizable piece comes from a print titled The Dance of Youth from 1961, done in Picasso’s abstract style. Whether you are an art buff or not, having Picasso’s work at your school is impressive.

The university collection is displayed along the hallways of our university and in the offices of our professors. According to Professor Matthews, “there’s probably work in every building on campus” so next time you’re walking to class look a little closer at the walls around us every day.

You might be surprised by what you can find. 🅼

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