In August 2015, the Art Museum of West Virginia University opened its doors after ten years of planning. Dean of the College of Creative Arts said at the dedication that the museum put the visual arts community at WVU on equal footing with our peer institutions and provides educational opportunities for students and children of Morgantown. President of WVU, Gordon Gee, emphasized that preserving and displaying our cultural heritage is an important part of our land-grant heritage.
The museum houses more than 3,000 works of Appalachian, American, and international art in its diverse collection. The University began collecting art without a formal exhibition space more than ten years prior to the Art Museum's opening. It holds the largest public collection of art by Modernist Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956), a native of Maidsville and graduate of WVU whom Gordon Gee called one of West Virginia's true treasures. The Art Museum also houses collections of work by Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Cole, Jean Metzinger, William Schumacher, Rockwell Kent, William Conger, and Tim McFarlane, along with collections of Asian and African art and pieces by world-renowned names such as Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, and Andy Warhol.
Two galleries, with 5,400 square-feet of exhibition space, display a sampling of this collection. The building was built to environmental standards for temperature, humidity, and light levels to safely display and store works of art. The Plevin Lobby of the Art Museum features a unique graffiti mural by Raoul and Davide Pierre, known as How and Nosm in the art world. Researchers are welcome to examine art up close in a study room, while educators and students have a classroom space available.
Museum Education Center
In 2010, the University completed renovation of an existing two-story building, the former Erickson Alumni Center designed by noted architect Michael Graves, to accommodate museum offices, halls for educational programs and receptions, and a gift shop.
Additionally, an outdoor sculpture garden offers museum visitors a place to relax and contemplate works of art in a lovely setting.