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The Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University was officially renamed the Samek Art Museum at a rededication ceremony Thursday, April 24.
"A museum is not a building, but a set of activities; a museum exists to enrich the public through ongoing exhibitions and educational programs and it preserves a permanent collection of cultural artifacts," said Richard Rinehart, director.
"The Samek has long functioned as a museum, and now we take the name to rededicate ourselves to this core mission; to engage students with our collection in new ways, and inspire audiences with a richer offering of public programs," he said.
Located on the third floor of the Elaine Langone Center, the Center Gallery opened in 1983. The gallery's name was changed to the Bucknell Art Gallery in 1998, then to the Samek Art Gallery in 2001, reflecting a naming gift by Ed and Marthann Lauver Samek, who graduated from Bucknell in 1958 and 1960 respectively.
"While The Samek has been fortunate to have received some wonderful gifts of artwork over the years, notably the Kress Collection, we believe that potential donors will respond more favorably to give their loved and valued artworks to an institution known as a museum than a gallery," said the Sameks.
The Samek Art Museum is a program of Bucknell University that creates meaningful encounters between artists, students, scholars, the public and works of art. These encounters occur in the Samek Gallery, the Downtown Gallery, the Collection Study Room, and across campus in pop-up exhibitions and permanent art installations.
Presenting visual fine art in critical contexts consistent with Bucknell's high academic standards, the Museum challenges students and extends the intellectual life of campus in an informal lifelong learning environment. The Museum is an academic art lab where experimental art, innovative curatorial practices, and co-curricular programming generate new ways to engage and inspire audiences.
The two locations of the Museum include 4,112 square feet of exhibition space divided into five galleries. The Museum houses a collection of 5,500 artworks, with the first work collected in 1853, two years after Great Exhibition in London that signaled the birth of the modern museum. The collection includes works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, James Mcneill Whistler, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and thousands more. There are 450 artworks installed across campus.
Each year, the Museum presents approximately 12 exhibitions and 75 public programs including class visits, tours, lectures and receptions. The equivalent of the entire population of Lewisburg attends Museum exhibitions and programs each year.