Art in Wichita: instruction, collection and innovation

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Brogan, Devin
Torbenson, Craig L.

Art instruction, renowned collections and contemporary innovation represent the various offerings of Wichita’s primary visual art centers: the Wichita Center for the Arts, the Wichita Art Museum, and the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art. Through their separate programs and objectives, these three institutions contribute to the city’s cultural vitality and make it more than just another dot on the map. Without the foresight of a number of her citizens, Wichita’s cultural climate would have remained dormant, deprived of the attention necessary to flourish. The catalyst for this development was a gift from the estate of Louise Caldwell Murdock, in 1915, for the purchase of American art to be housed, and cared for by the city of Wichita. From this bequest, the Wichita Art Association (forerunner of the modern Wichita Center for the Arts) was established and its members worked to foster appreciation of art through instruction and the construction of the city’s first art museum. Completed in 1935, the Wichita Art Museum became one of the guiding forces in Wichita’s aesthetic development and through the purchases of the Murdock bequest, became possessor of one of the region’s most recognized collections of American art. The Roland P. Murdock Collection contains works of art that encompass a broad range of styles and artists including works by Edward Hopper, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Henry Moore, Mary Cassatt and John Steuart Curry. In 1974, the city’s third visual art institution opened on the campus of Wichita State University. The Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art embarked on an innovative exhibition schedule that brought internationally recognized artists to the community. These exhibitions further challenged the community’s ideas and conceptions about art. The museum’s emphasis on representing innovative art and artists helped secure one of the city’s most striking landmarks the Joan Miro’ mural Personnages Ouiseaux. Each of these institutions represents the strong tradition of arts in this community. Through their efforts, thousands of individuals have been trained in art, learned more about American art and have been challenged to rethink their notions of art. As instructors, collectors and innovators, Wichita’s visual art centers continue their historic contributions to the city’s cultural identity.

Table of Content
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of History.
"May 2006."
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 102-107).
Online access for administrative use only