As it has been said countless times, everyone should have access to art! You don’t have to be an art-history major to appreciate one of the most classic forms of human expression and what better place to collect artistic masterpieces than in the heart of a young intellectual community?
Universities and Colleges are constantly trying to expand their resources to make sure that their student body is well rounded and highly educated. No wonder attending one of these prestigious institutions is a major part of the American Dream! But you don’t have to be enrolled to enjoy some of the resources that these institutions provide. Many years ago, some colleges and universities realized that art is an essential part of any community and they began collecting masterpieces which now make up some of the greatest collections in the world. If you are interested in checking out some cool art, we highly suggest that you stop by some of these museums and galleries that are managed and supported by top schools in the United States after your campus tour.
1. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
Free for all! That’s not something you hear everyday, especially from museums with such awe-inspiring art collections. Founded in 1917, the Allen Memorial Art Museum hosts works by Vik Muniz, Picasso, Calder, Renoir and many other great names, making it one of the top five college and university art museums in the U.S.. With a variety of nearly 14,000 works of art, the museum has more than enough to share… and they do! What makes this museum #1 on our list is their rental program, where students can rent almost priceless pieces for $5 a semester. How about a Dali in your dorm as a conversation piece?
2. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
Let’s be honest, the stainless steel building is already a work of art in itself! Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum was founded in 1934 and has been a teaching museum for the University of Minnesota ever since. Featuring a diverse selection ranging from traditional Korean furniture and ceramics all the way to 20th century American art, works by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Roy Lichtenstein can be admired in the large spaces of the museum. Similarly to the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the Weisman Art Museum also has a rental program where students and employees at the university can rent original artworks for only $15 a semester, promoting a more engaged and well-rounded community.
3. University of Michigan Museum of Art, University of Michigan
For 150 years, the University of Michigan has been collecting a wide range of artworks that now make up a body of 18,000 pieces. The free admission is a given since it is ultimately a teaching museum, but a donation can go a long way to support an institution that aims to “bridge visual art and contemporary culture, scholarship and accessibility, tradition and innovation”. Including masterpieces by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, the UMMA also has special strengths in Chinese and Japanese painting and Chinese and Korean ceramics. They have also embarked on the University of Michigan Provenance Research Project, aimed at identifying objects that might’ve been taken by Hitler during World War II. The results of this project will be public information and will definitely mark a milestone in uncovering pieces of the world’s history.
4. Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
Most of us are familiar with Auguste Rodin’s famous bronze sculpture, The Thinker, but not all of us can make it all the way to Paris to check it out, so here’s an alternative. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University has the largest Rodin Collection outside of Paris, with 200 works for public viewing and free tours of their sculpture garden. More than that, the collection also includes prints by Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein, lithographs by Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Gericault, and even the satires by Honoré Daumier. All of these resources are available for Stanford Students who wish to take free classes at Cantor and the masterpieces are on view for everyone who wishes to see them!
5. Museum of Art (MOA), Brigham Young University
One of the largest and most visited art museums in the Mountain West, Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art is comprised of 17,000 objects, 10 exhibition galleries, classrooms, an auditorium and a small theatre, as well as a café that overlooks the sculpture garden and the reflection pool. But it’s more than just big and beautiful structure; it’s also a key contributor to the academic mission of the University, providing students with internship opportunities, mentored projects and a Print Study Room where students have access to works in the Museum’s permanent collection that are not currently on view. For those who do not attend BYU, the MOA offers free guided tours, lectures, symposia and conferences, expanding the BYU community even more and forging relationships with scholars, educators, students, and artists alike.
top image // Courtesy of James Howe Photography