Parachutist Descending

Fran Forman, “Parachutist Descending,” 2005, archival pigment print from photographic assemblage. Gift from the Ray Griffin/Thom Robinson Collection.

The Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum is highlighting its permanent collection this summer with a new exhibition, “Cultivating Collections.”

The exhibition focuses on what staff describe as three strengths of the museum’s collection, expected to expand over the next five to 10 years: photography, artist books and contemporary Native American art. 

As the museum adds to its holdings of more than 1,800 works of art, these concentration areas will provide a foundation for collecting. 

One gallery in the exhibition is “Cultivating Collections: Photography,” curated by undergraduate and graduate students and nationally known photographers – many who visited, taught, studied or exhibited at WCU during their careers. This gallery brings a student perspective to the museum’s ever-expanding photography collection. 

As part of the course, students selected works to display, interviewed artists and evaluated strengths and opportunities for the collection.

Featured artists include Ed Ruscha, Fran Forman, Pinky Bass, Susan Harbage Page, Drew Cameron, John Dickson, David Packer, Susan Alta Martin and others. 

“Cultivating Collections: Artist Books” highlights artists’ desire to express an idea through a book-like format. The Museum holds more than 100 artist books by American artists. These include altered books, visual narratives and conceptual books.

The Museum also has a strong commitment to exhibiting contemporary Native American art.

The reception for “Cultivating Collections” is from 5-7 p.m. July 25, at the WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center, 199 Centennial Drive.