For the fall semester 2021, the Brauer Museum of Art has reopened with limited hours. After being closed in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is currently open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Brauer presents a world-class collection with pieces by national artists like Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe, as well as international works of art focusing on religion. The museum aims at the culture and education of the campus community whether it is an art student or not.
âTruly, the main contribution the museum should make to the university is to involve students and faculty in art, regardless of their discipline,â said Jon Kilpinen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. âI think what’s been interesting over the years is the partnership between the museum and various university arts and science departments. There was even some engagement with engineering. And so, I think that’s really the main goal of having an art museum at the university.
In addition, the museum also displays works by regional artists such as Frank Duncey and Percy Sloan, both of whom captured the Indiana environment in the 1800s. The Sloan family started the art collection from there. college by donating Percy Sloan’s work and creating a foundation to collect more coins.
âSo some of the first key collections we have – there was a donation of a set of paintings by an artist named Percy Sloan. And those were really the first landscape scenes in Indianaâ¦ The pre-industrial and pre-steel industry in Northwest Indiana, so a lot of rural scenes. But it’s a truly remarkable collection, kind of a snapshot of a period of time, âKilpinen said.
When the pandemic forced VU to shut down all in-person functions in the spring of 2020, the Brauer also shut down. University-wide budget cuts in the fall of 2020 then forced the museum to remain closed the following year.
âTowards the end of this budget process, we still had to save some short-term money, not knowing exactly how COVID was going to treat us and all the universities. So we looked for cuts that we considered to be really temporary cuts, and the staff at the Brauer museum were one of them. We knew we had to close the museum because it was COVID, anyway, so we put the staff positions in the ‘temporary’ category, âKilpinen said.
Kilpinen noted that although some of the budget cuts have since been reinstated, it has been decided that the Brauer could not be opened to full capacity in the fall of 2021 due to a prioritization of academics. Kilpinen used the hiring of a staff member from the Language Resource Center (LRC) as an example.
âIn terms of priority, I think one of the reasons why this position [the LRC Director] came back quickly because it was really linked to the academic success of the students, especially in foreign languages. And the Brauer, while supporting education, doesn’t really directly contribute to individual courses or specific majors, with the possible exception of art, âKilpinen said.
Another reason for the Brauer’s limited hours is the search for a new museum director after the recent departure of former director Greg Hertzlieb. Kilpinen and Provost Eric Johnson are hopeful that a new manager will be hired in the spring of 2022.
âIn order to be able to open the Brauer, it will be necessary, in particular, to hire a new director for the museum. And so, I don’t know the timeline for this step yet, but I’m also working with the provost on this. At least tentatively our goal is to open in the spring and I’m not sure if it could be January, if it could be March, or if it could even be right before the end of the semester, âKilpinen said. .
In its current state, however, the museum still has a wide array of artwork for the campus, including portraits, landscapes, sculptures, and modern art.
âI just think, you know, the collection that we have has such a good variety. Some people really like portraits, and we have some fantastic portraits. Some people like landscapes, some people like modern art – we have good examples of that. So I think part of the appeal to the Brauer is the diversity of its collection despite being a fairly small museum. There’s something for almost everyone out there, and we’ve had a lot of interest in our collection, âsaid Kilpinen.