The museum’s permanent collections consist of over 5,000 objects in a variety of media including prints, photographs, paintings, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and decorative art objects from cultures around the world and spanning more than 2,000 years.
The collection was established with a transfer of approximately 1,500 important works of art from around the Colorado State University campus when the museum was founded in 2009, many from the Department of Art and Art History and the Lory Student Center. Two central areas of the collection were already established—African art of the 20th century and American art after 1960—and both areas have grown significantly since then. In 2011, a world-class collection of European art came to the museum with the gift of the Hartford-Tandstad Collection.
As a university museum, donations of art have been the primary means of growing the museum’s collection, which is at the core of our service to students and our larger community. Despite notable gifts from important private collections, such as diverse contemporary works from the collection of Polly and Mark Addison, Ron and June Shelp, and others, striking gaps remain in areas of the collection.
The museum strives to be encyclopedic in scope and greater representation of works of art from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America is essential going forward. The museum’s collection of works from North America has become more diverse, first with the gift of a portfolio of Mexican prints from the Taller de Gráfica Popular by CSU alumnus Marcelo Calle, and furthered with the establishment of the Dale Pruce and Leslie Walker Latin American Art Acquisition fund. The museum continues to pursue growth in this area.
The museum is also committed to addressing other underrepresented areas, especially by expanding our collection of contemporary works by artists of the African Diaspora, by Indigenous artists of the Americas, and by other artists of color. We are, for the first time in our institution’s history, dedicating operating funds to filling some of these gaps, but everything we do relies on private support. Please contact the museum’s director, Lynn Boland, if you can help.