Roy Nuse, “Peace of Mind,” n.d., oil, 30 x 25 inches, Bucks County Intermediate

Believe it or not, many of our nation’s public and private schools have remarkable art collections. The James A. Michener Art Museum explores the phenomenon during this fascinating show.

The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, recently mounted an interesting exhibition aimed at showcasing the longstanding tradition of art collecting by public educational institutions in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Walter Baum, “The Brook,” circa 1930, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches, School District of Philadelphia
Joseph Crilley, “Country Road to Bucks County,” circa 1952, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, New Hope-Solebury School District

Opened on July 8 and running through January 7, 2018, “Dedicated, Displayed, Discovered: Celebrating the Region’s School Art Collections” is a remarkable collaboration of six educational institutions that, from the 1890s to the mid-20th century, “embraced opportunities to introduce original works in hallways and classrooms, advancing a holistic approach to educating and enriching the lives of students,” the museum reports. “The Michener Art Museum is presenting the first-ever exhibition of these long-hidden artistic treasures, inviting the public to view these historically significant works and to learn the stories of the schools, artists, and educators behind them.”

Henry Ossawa Tanner, “A Horse and Two Dogs in a Landscape,” 1891, oil on canvas, 30 x 38 inches, School District of Philadelphia
Colin Campbell Cooper, “The Bird Refuge,” circa 1915, oil, 42 x 52 inches, Pennridge School District
George Sotter, “Two Roads,” circa 1951, oil, 26 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches, Pennridge School District

“For well over a century, the connection among artists, educators, and students has been an important part of the rich artistic heritage of this region,” added Adrienne Neszmelyi-Romano, the Michener’s director of interpretation and innovation. “We are delighted to be able to present for the first time how these connections evolved over the decades and benefited everyone involved — especially students, whose intellects were shaped by continuous exposure to and discussions about the original works of art in their classrooms and hallways.”

To learn more, visit here.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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