Initiated by Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), seven college and university art museums are involved in a program intended to bolster intra- and inter-institutional collaboration, expand opportunities for faculty from all disciplines to teach using works of art, and strengthen the diverse community of college art museums. The program, funded by a generous $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will create and strengthen important relationships between the museums, colleges and universities.
The collaboration includes a strategic program of loans from YUAG's encyclopedic collection (which contains about 200,000 works) to six "partner museums," for use in specially developed exhibitions and related coursework.
The partner museums for the pilot project are the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, ME), Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (South Hadley, MA), Dartmouth College's Hood Museum of Art (Hanover, NH), Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton, MA), Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, MA) and the Allen Memorial Art Museum of Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH). Most of these museums had previously received support from the Mellon Foundation, which had sought to strengthen the use of original artworks across college and university curricula, and in 2008, meetings and discussions centered around extending the range and depth of the colleges' course offerings and of available scholarly research in which original works are a key component.
Preliminarily, each of the six partner museums considered how works from the Yale University Art Gallery could complement or amplify their own holdings, with the aim of enhancing academic programs. Following planning meetings at Yale during the spring of 2009, each museum submitted a proposal for a partnership with the Gallery.
Current and future projects will be developed through a collaboration that brings together a diverse list of curators, scholars and faculty from each partner institution and the Yale University Art Gallery. The exchange of knowledge, ideas and academic approaches will be an ongoing initiative, and Yale curators, conservators and faculty will continue working with the partner museums and colleges in various ways - including through teaching, lecturing and advising.
If the project is successful, I'd definitely want to be a student at one of the prestigious partner museums' associated colleges or universities. This seems like an amazing opportunity for college and university students to get hands on learning experience and view and learn about some of the world's most important works of art without stepping too far outside of the classroom.
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