History of The Weatherspoon Art Museum
Founded in 1941 by Gregory Ivy, first head of the Art Department at Woman’s College (now UNCG), the Weatherspoon Art Museum has grown from a university teaching gallery to a fully professional museum that is nationally recognized for its excellent collections and dynamic exhibition program. The Museum serves a broad audience of over 32,000 visitors annually, including UNCG students, faculty and staff; the Triad communities; and visitors from across the state, region, and nation; and an additional 24,000 students who take art history classes in the building.
In addition to a schedule of more than fifteen exhibitions each year, the Museum maintains a full roster of educational activities, publications, and outreach efforts as integral components of its overall program. The Weatherspoon was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1995 and earned reaccreditation status in 2005.
From its inception, the museum has focused on building a permanent collection of modern and contemporary American art that is now considered one of the best in the Southeast. Numbering close to 6,000 works, the collection represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, John Marin, Alexander Calder, Robert Henri, Cindy Sherman, Sol Le Witt, Louise Nevelson, Eva Hesse, and Andy Warhol are just a few of the major artists represented. Other highlights include the Dillard Collection of Art on Paper; the Etta and Claribel Cone Collection, which includes prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse; and the Lenoir C. Wright Collection of Japanese Prints.
The Weatherspoon’s exhibition calendar offers visitors the opportunity to see and learn directly from significant examples of modern and contemporary art. The schedule includes work by outstanding artists of national and international reputation; thematic exhibitions on timely aesthetic, cultural, and social issues; small focused exhibitions of emerging artists; selections from the permanent collection; UNCG MFA thesis shows and faculty biennials; and Falk Visiting Artist exhibitions, a collaborative program with the UNCG Department of Art.
The Museum’s educational offerings include docent-led tours; gallery talks, lectures, and panel discussions; film and video series; after-hour social events; hands-on workshops; and Community Days. The Museum has enjoyed strong regional and national reviews, including those in Art Papers, Artforum, Art on Paper, and Art in America.