As of yesterday, Tacoma Art Museum is now managing and curating Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound. The gallery had previously been run by a part-time curator–most recently Carol Adelman–and featured mostly contemporary Northwest artists, with occasional student and faculty shows. Margaret Bullock, TAM’s curator of collections and special exhibitions, will now oversee both the gallery and the university’s small collection, including the nationally-significant Abby Williams Hill collection.
"This offers an opportunity to bring the knowledge and expertise of key individuals at Tacoma Art Museum to the benefit of our students and art department," said Kris Bartanen, academic vice president and dean of UPS.
Stephanie Stebich, director of Tacoma Art Museum, said the partnership is an important and unusual collaboration that will give her institution opportunities to pursue different kinds of exhibitions.
The museum originally opened doors in 1935 in Jones Hall, now the UPS administrative building.
“We’re really excited about the partnership,” said John McCuistion, chair of the UPS art department, who will work with Bullock on the budget and student shows. “It allows us to get the kind of exhibitions we want, but weren’t able to because of the budget.”
Talks about the partnership began between UPS and TAM late last year, McCuistion says. Exhibitions will broaden from contemporary regional and national artists to more historical works from the TAM collections, as well as including an emphasis on student learning. Shows will stretch to between six to eight weeks in duration. Museum staff will spend part of the week at Kittredge and provide training for student gallery assistants.
McCuistion made no comment on whether the decision to have TAM manage the gallery stemmed from any problems with outgoing curator Carol Adelman, although UPS has “struggled with the gallery over the last four years keeping personnel that we wanted.” The position, being part-time, was hard to fill.
Adelman, who came to UPS from adjunct and visiting teaching positions at various other universities, says she sees the move as a compliment to the “innovative, museum-quality work, incorporating student learning” that she had done there. She will continue with independent curatorial work, as well as her own painting.
Kittredge Gallery is closed for the summer. It is located in Kittredge Hall, at North 15th and Warner Streets, Tacoma. www2.ups.edu/kittredge