The MUW art department is holding its annual Permanent Collection at the Eugenia Summer Gallery. Since Aug. 15, the gallery has been presenting Mississippi University for Women's collected work dating back to the Great Depression for students and the public alike.
"The Permanent Collection is an important teaching tool for the Department of Art and Design. Faculty members bring their classes to the exhibition to discuss their works. For the campus and the community this is a chance, once a year, for people to see a real Matisse or a real Chagall or a real Marie Hull,” said Alex Stelios-Wills, gallery director and department chair.
"Yeah, we got a Matisse in the back," said Andy Snyder, assistant gallery director and curator for this year’s gallery.
"And here is one of Birney Imes' pieces, you know he's a world-renowned photographer, and he's my next door neighbor," Snyder said, laughing.
Snyder curated the gallery as the color spectrum or, adequately called, The Spectrum. It begins with WPA wood-grained prints in black dating from 1935 and continues around the room subtly changing colors from paintings, sketches, photography and more.
"I really can't confirm where some of these pieces came from," Steelios-Wills says. "From what I gathered, talking to my predecessor, some of these came as a donation. The WPA was a government program during the depression. What they'd do is, pay an artist to create pieces, as a way to fund the arts. So you had these great artists giving the government some of their finest work. Of course, they never actually did anything with these pieces. Years later, the government realized they had all this stuff and had nothing to do with it. So they enrolled universities to apply for these pieces, and they would then give it to them for free."
Steelios-Wills and Snyder will discuss "A Spectrum of the Permanent Collection" on Tuesday, Sept. 3, from12:30-1 p.m. The gallery will close Sept. 6.