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Edinboro University spotlights its commitment to art

Outdoor sculptures, permanent art collection exhibits highlight President Julie E. Wollman’s inauguration


EDINBORO, Pa. – Edinboro University’s entire campus will become an art gallery in the coming weeks as new and long-unseen works by acclaimed artists go on display as part of President Julie E. Wollman’s inauguration.

Outdoors, 21 large-scale sculptures accent the natural beauty of the campus.

Indoors, selections from the University’s multimillion-dollar permanent collection on display in Barron-Forness Library provide the region’s art lovers with access to works by such noted artists as Picasso, Degas, Kollwitz and Warhol as well as accomplished Edinboro alumni and faculty.

The focus on art during the inaugural celebration highlights one of the bonds between the University and its new president, said Professor Michelle Vitali, who leads the Inauguration Art Committee.

“We know that Dr. Wollman grew up with art and cares deeply about art,” Vitali said. “Honoring her inauguration this way showcases the strength of our Art Department and what we do both on and off campus.”

Edinboro is widely recognized as one of the nation’s best art schools, and its fine art and art education programs are among the most comprehensive.

President Wollman will be inaugurated Nov. 9 at the conclusion of a week of special events, performances and displays that focus on the excellence and leadership of the people and programs of the University. The theme of the inauguration is “Excellence. Optimism. Leadership.”

Permanent art collections

All seven floors of the Barron-Forness Library will showcase art from the University’s extensive and eclectic permanent collection during Dr. Wollman’s inauguration and beyond.

In addition to 30 newly framed works by well-known, “A-list” artists, the library will now house a rotating sampling of the University’s more than 400 John James Audubon prints, its presidential portrait gallery, and art on long-term loan from faculty members, Vitali said.

Some of the permanent collection’s works have not been displayed for decades, and others – including the large Audubon prints – may never have been exhibited because of a lack of space and funding for archival framing for the valuable pieces, she said.

The inaugural exhibit is concentrated in the second-floor atrium and new display cases for ceramics and other small pieces near the main entrance on the first floor, but Vitali said she is using the opportunity to fill every blank wall space in the library with art.

A new ‘visual vocabulary’

The aesthetic experience created within Barron-Forness Library spills outdoors in the form of 12 new sculptures chosen to complement nine existing pieces on the Edinboro campus.

Monumental, dramatic and in some cases whimsical, they represent an array of artists, styles and materials.

“I wanted the new pieces to work well with the existing pieces as well as to welcome a new visual vocabulary to the campus,” said Professor D.W. Martin, who organized the display and contributed several pieces to it.

The new sculptures will remain on loan to the University for a year, adding a cultural accent to everyday life on campus that will be accessible to visitors year-round. Martin said he hopes to see the works rotate annually.

A map of the sculptures’ locations and guide describing each piece will be available soon.

Panel discussion; celebration of art/music

A highlight of the Inauguration Week focus on art will be a panel discussion, “The Interrelationship of Art and Culture,” on November 8 at 4 p.m. in the Dr. William P. Alexander Music Center’s Recital Hall. The panel will feature President Wollman’s parents, Dr. Harry and Anne C. Wollman, of Woodstock, Vt., as well as Kurt Sundstrom, curator of the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H. In 2010, the Wollmans’ personal collection of 20th century art was featured in a special exhibit at the Currier Museum.

Following the discussion, “A Celebration of Art & Music,” a musical reception and exhibition that includes highlights from Edinboro’s permanent collection, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Baron-Forness Library.

For a complete listing of inauguration events, please go to