Saint Mary's Establishes New Museum of Art, Opening Exhibit William Keith Centennial Tribute
MORAGA, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2011) - Saint Mary's College of California announces a new home for the College's Hearst Art Gallery and the William Keith Gallery with the establishment of the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art (SMCMoA).
To mark the opening of SMCMoA, the new museum will unveil a major exhibition by California's great 19th century landscape master William Keith. "The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute," opens Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, and continues through Dec. 18, 2011. The exhibition will feature 145 of the College's extensive collection of Keith paintings. Recent acquisitions and newly restored paintings by the artist will be on view in the Hearst and Keith Galleries.
The cost for the museum expansion was more than $600,000 and exhibition space will increase by 50 percent, creating two large galleries to complement the Keith and Hearst galleries. The Hearst Art Gallery, which was founded in 1977 with a grant from the Hearst Foundation, will remain a primary exhibition space for the museum.
The College has published a major new book on Keith to coincide with the centennial exhibition. "The Comprehensive Keith: The Hundred Year History of the Saint Mary's College Collection," presents 262 color illustrations, features original Keith letters, interviews and chronicles painstaking efforts by art scholars to restore his paintings over the years.
At the opening of the exhibit, a keynote address recognizing Keith's importance to the history of California will be presented by University of Southern California History Professor Kevin Starr. His lecture "Thinking About William Keith -- Some Centennial Considerations," will occur at 2 p.m. Oct. 2, 2011 in the College's LeFevre Theatre. Starr is an emeritus California State Librarian and one of the nation's leading experts on the history of the Golden State.
Brother President Ronald Gallagher expressed his appreciation for the friends of the College whose support made the new museum a reality. "We are grateful for the generosity of the donors who quietly made this museum possible," said Gallagher. Saint Mary's president added the new museum will provide cultural benefits to the College community and to the Bay Area. "This expanded space will allow the College to feature more of our extensive art collection, showcase national and regional artists and give talented Saint Mary's students the important educational experience that comes with exhibiting in a professional gallery."
Saint Mary's art collection began with a few Keith paintings in the early 20th century and today has expanded to nearly 4,500 works of art, including its comprehensive Keith collection; early ceramics; Roman coins; African; Asian and Oceanic ethnographic objects; religious statuary; Russian icons and modern California art.
The director of SMCMoA Carrie Brewster said the museum will continue its mission to make great art available to audiences across the Bay Area. "Learning about the arts awakens curiosity, connects past, present and future, and is accessible to people of all ages," said Brewster. "This expansion will allow us to broaden our subjects to allow viewers to see established and emerging artists, selections from the permanent collection, history and science displays and student art - perhaps all at the same time."
For more information about the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art, "The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute," opening Oct. 2 and the Keith lecture by leading California historian Kevin Starr, visit stmarys-ca.edu/museum or contact the museum's Manager of Public Information and Educational Programs Heidi Donner at [email protected] or by phone at 925-631-4069.