A closer look into F&M’s on campus Art Museum, the Phillips Museum of Art

By Ruby Van Dyk || Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of Claire Collinson

Stepping into the Steinman College Center can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.  Students file past with cups of coffee in their hands, or packages that have been picked up. People mingle and talk as they walk to get lunch, or go study. The Steinman College Center is constantly filled with students, but little do many of them know that tucked in the corner of the Center, is F&M’s very own Art Museum.

The Phillips Museum of Art, consists of three floors, four galleries, a sculpture garden, and a classroom along with professional offices and workspaces. The museum showcases a variety of art pieces, including those from it’s own collection, and a variety of special exhibitions that change throughout the school year.

Walking into the Museum, the diversity within the collection is undeniable. There are sculptures, ancient rifles, paintings, antique furniture and abstract pieces. Like most art museums, the pieces all have descriptions next to them that depict their title and history.  But knowing that F&M is part of a piece’s history makes each piece even more intriguing and special.

Throughout the collection there are places to sit and look at the art, write, or just take a minute during one’s day to refocus. Outside of the gallery, in the 1970’s Professor Edmund Whiting brought public art made by faculty and alumni to F&M. The group of 18 works now makes up the part of the Museum’s permanent collection and are part of the Public Art Walk. The pieces of art are spread throughout campus and maps at the Museum that can help navigate amongst them.

Along with the Museum’s own collection, there are currently three limited time exhibits on display including “Arab Comics,” “Irina Botea Bucan”, and “Onward with the Revolution: Late Soviet-Era Posters”

   The Arabs Comics exhibit runs September 6th to December 8th this year, showcasing 90 years of popular visual culture. The exhibition includes 33 reproductions of Arab comics, which all fall into three distinct categorical types of comic book art: originals, adaptations, and contemporary works. Each comic is different, and tells a story in it’s own way. Some are colorful, while others are black and white. The exhibit is brought to the Phillips Museum in partnership with F&M’s Islamic and Middle East Studies Program.

Another featured exhibit in the Museum is the work of Irina Botea Bucan, an artist who uses different types of media in her videos and films that relate to current socio-political dynamics and the possibility of their transformation. The exhibition is made up of 9 of her works which were made over the last 10 years. The exhibit is extremely unique, and immersive with it’s visual and technological feel. This exhibit runs September 6th to December 8th as well.

Lastly the museum features “Onward with the Revolution: Late Soviet-Era Posters.” This exhibition is from the permanent collection of the Phillips Museum of Art. F&M Professors Jon Stone and Nina Bond hand picked the posters that are on display in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. There are lots of different posters, many of which were very popular in Russian pop culture. It is fascinating to walk around the gallery room and look at all the posters, and reflect on that period in time. This exhibit runs September 6th to December 8th as well.

Although the Museum’s permanent collection is fantastic, these special exhibits add another level of cultural diversity to the Museum. They are engaging, immersive, and extremely prevalent to many world issues today. Because they are only here for a limited time, I highly recommend visiting before the semester ends.

The museum serves as a great resource to both faculty, students, and members of the Lancaster Community. Many professors incorporate the gallery into their curriculum, either assigning students to go check it out, or learning about certain pieces or exhibits within the museum.

I, for one, am a huge fan of art museums, but even if you aren’t I highly recommend checking out The Phillips Museum. It really is an incredible privilege to have access to such a beautiful collection of historic art as an F&M student, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. So, if you are looking for fine art, a moment of escapism, or something to end your boredom, visit The Phillips Museum.

The Museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 12-4pm, Thursdays 2-6pm. Located in Steinman College Center.

First-Year Ruby Van Dyk is a contributing writer. Her email rvandyk@fandm.edu.

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