5 University Museums and Galleries at AANAPISIs You Should Visit

by See Xiong

In 2016, the Atlantic asked, “why do college museums have so much art?” College museums are considered “teaching museums,” places where students can learn and experience the objects first hands. Philip Kennicott wrote for the Washington Post a year prior:

A teaching museum self-consciously and forthrightly embraces the idea that everyone should know something about art and that knowledge of art is fundamental to knowledge of the world. And there may be a subtle nuance in the word “teaching” as opposed to “education.” Most museums have education departments, but a teaching museum conceives of the process more actively, led by authoritative experts who are comfortable with the structural inequities of the student-teacher dynamic.

If you are interested in the art, museums, or galleries and at their intersection with universities serving a large number of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students, below are five Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) with museums and galleries. As you learn about these museums (you are encouraged to click on the many links), think of this question: as AANAPISIs, how are their art spaces representative of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander culture and students present at these institutions?

Weisman Art Museum

1. Weisman Art Museum

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 

The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities is considered one of the best university art museums in America. The UMTC campus has been home to the museum since 1993. The Weisman offers education programs and resources for University of Minnesota students, K-12 students, community and faculty. The museum holds over 20,000 works of art and housed the Prince in Minneapolis installation from December 2017 to June 2018. It also is home to Dr. Edward Reynolds Wright Jr.’s Traditional Korean Furniture collection, which was given to the Weisman by bequest in 1988Admission is free to the public.

SFSU Fine Arts Gallery

2. Fine Arts Gallery

San Francisco State University

The San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery’s mission is to “showcase recent developments in local, regional, national and international contemporary and historical art with special focus on representing the diversity of our community and furthering the University’s commitment to social justice.” The Fine Arts Gallery is funded for their projects by varies foundations, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, national Endowment for the Humanities, Terra Foundation for American Art, and much more. Admission is free to the public.

Koki Tanaka UCI UAG

3. University Art Galleries

University of California, Irvine

The University Art Galleries (UAG) at UC Irvine was opened in the late 1960s and provides different platforms for arts and its mission is “committed to promoting an inter-generational dialogue between 60s/70s neo-avant-garde art and contemporary visual culture.”The UAG is housed in the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts and show exhibitions by undergraduate and graduate students. UAG also exhibit young artists through the Emerging Artist Series and renowned mid-career artists through its Critical Aesthetics Program.

University of Illinois at Chicago Gallery 400

4. Gallery 400

University of Illinois at Chicago

Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago was founded in 1983 and since then has presented over 1,000 artists. It holds a variety of events including artist talk, lecture, performance, screening among others. It has held events, such as Asian American Resource and Cultural Center Chat and exhibitions, such as Radiate: Art of the South Asian Diaspora. Admission is free to the public.

Godwin-ternbach Museum CUNY Queens College

5. Godwin-Ternbach Museum

CUNY Queens College

Godwin-Terbach Museum at Queens College was founded in 1981 with arts from the Queens College Art Collection dated back to the founding of the College in 1937. The museum hold talks, lectures, show films, and provide workshops and tours. The museum houses many Asian artifacts which can be found online in its digital archive.

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