Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

College Museum Showcases 40 Years of Acquisitions from the Friends of the Art Museum

September 16, 2010

"Friends Bearing Gifts: Forty Years of Acquisitions from the Friends of the Art Museum"

September 17–December 12, 2010

For immediate release: 7/12/10
For further information contact: Emmie Donadio, Chief Curator, (802) 443-2240 or donadio@middlebury.edu

Middlebury, VT- On Fri., Sept.17 the Middlebury College Museum of Art will open its doors to all members of the community for an exhibition made possible through the commitment and involvement demonstrated by the Friends of the Art Museum (formerly Friends of Art) over the last 40 years.

Since the group’s inception in 1969 the Friends, an association of alumni, community members, faculty, staff, and students of the College, have used their membership dues to obtain new acquisitions for the College’s art collection and to support educational outreach programs for the benefit of the community.

The opening of the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Building in 1968 marked the beginning of the campaign to gather a permanent collection of art for the College. The Friends, along with faculty members from the Art Department, heavily aided these early efforts and helped to shape the identity of the collection over the years. While the Museum has moved from its original location in the Johnson Building to the Mahaney Center for the Arts and is now run by a full-time dedicated staff, it is impossible to ignore the integral role played by the Friends in its establishment.

The success of the Museum has served to strengthen both the College and the local community. Middlebury students have benefitted from an acquisition strategy based in part on using art as a teaching tool in classes, while programs like MiddArts and the Museum Assistants Program have helped enrich art curriculums for schools in the surrounding area. The Friends have always corroborated the importance of these initiatives, exemplified by their creation of the Awards for Distinction in the Visual Arts, given annually to recognize significant contributions to the visual arts in Addison County. 

This exhibition, celebrating four decades of generosity, includes 40 objects purchased using funds raised by the Friends. With an extremely diverse display of works—ranging from an ancient Chinese mirror and black figure lekythos (the Friends’ first ever acquisition) to works by modern masters such as Chuck Close and Jasper Johns—Friends Bearing Gifts demonstrates the overarching impact that the Friends of the Art Museum have had on all areas of the Museum’s permanent collection. 

Through this special exhibition, the Museum acknowledges the achievements and generosity of the community of Friends that remains as essential to the Museum today as it was at the time of its establishment.

Organized by Chief Curator Emmie Donadio and Director Richard Saunders, the exhibition remains on view through Sun., Dec. 12. A wide range of viewpoints is reflected in the labels that accompany the works displayed, as current and past faculty and alumni in a range of disciplines have contributed to the information presented with the objects on view. An illustrated survey of the history of the Museum and its community of Friends, with an essay by Donadio, will also be available for purchase at the Museum Store.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art, located in the Mahaney Center for the Arts on Rte. 30 on the southern edge of campus, is free and open to the public Tues. through Fri. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sat. and Sun. from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays. The Museum is physically accessible. Parking is available in the Center for the Arts parking lot. For further information, please call (802) 443–5007 or TTY (802) 443–3155, or visit the Museum’s website at museum.middlebury.edu.