Standing from left to right: Nell Hawkins, Carol McClinton, Doreen Ravenscroft, Martha Clowe, Catherine Bolton Brown. Seated from left to right: Betsy Robinson, Carol Crosthwait, Sue Getterman.
Not pictured: Brooke Taylor
Baylor University's Martin Museum of Art has received some divine help from a group of art lovers. The Martin Museum Art Angels, which formed last summer, lend their support and fundraising abilities to the museum as a way to help with conservation, the purchase of new pieces for the permanent collection and boosting museum attendance.
Karin Gilliam, hired as director of the museum in January 2005, leads the support group. The museum, which is located in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, previously was directed by members of the Baylor art faculty.
"All the former directors did a great job of bringing in high-quality exhibitions," Gilliam said. "But our art department chairman, John McClanahan, realized that the museum could prosper even more with a full-time director. And he has been very supportive to the idea of the Martin Museum Art Angels."
At the opening reception on March 30 for this year's annual art student and studio faculty exhibit, the department presented a plaque honoring the Art Angels that will hang in the museum. Currently, there are nine Art Angels, all of Waco: Nell Hawkins, Doreen Ravenscroft, Carol Crosthwait, Brooke Taylor, Sue Getterman, Betsy Robinson, Martha Clowe, Catherine Bolton Brown and Carol McClinton.
Hawkins became the inaugural Art Angel when she was introduced to Gilliam by Ravenscroft, a longtime supporter of the arts in Waco.
"Karin invited me to the student exhibition at the Martin Museum, and I bought two pieces," Hawkins said. "I was struck by what a treasure the museum is, but it is really a hidden secret. It has wonderful exhibitions that feature renowned artists from throughout the country and the student work is phenomenal."
Already, the Art Angels have been diligent in their new roles as museum proponents. Last summer, Martin Museum and the University Art Gallery were remodeled into one large space, designated Galleries I and II. The group also funded the purchase of a large color banner that will more prominently display new exhibits at the entrance of the museum.
Last October, Art Angel and Regent Getterman and her husband established the Ted and Sue Getterman Endowed Fund for the Martin Museum of Art. The fund will help pay for artists' visits and support the permanent collection.
Gilliam envisions the museum being a stopping point for nationally recognized traveling exhibitions. She also hopes to invite artists to visit the campus and interact with patrons through workshops or other presentations. "In that way we are expanding our community outreach as well as enhancing our exhibitions," she said. She also wants to frame more of the museum's extensive permanent collection for display (see sidebar for more information).
She hopes that other art aficionados will become involved in the Art Angels program.
"This special group, which will be modeled after top-level memberships at other major academic museums, will help assure that quality, admission-free art exhibitions continue to be a source of great pride for Baylor and a wonderful cultural resource for the entire Central Texas community," she said.
The Baylor art museum
-- originally housed in the Carroll Science Building -- was founded in 1968 with about 100 pieces that had been donated to Baylor, many by overseas missionaries. Today, the Martin Museum focuses on contemporary art. Among the more than 1,000 pieces in the collection are signed lithographs of Salvador Dali's "Last Supper" and Alexander Calder's "Balloons," 12 original prints by Mauricio Lasansky and a signed seriograph of "Mango, Mango" by Red Grooms. The museum's newest acquisition, a large triptych by Texas artist Robert Rauschenberg titled "Autobiography, 1968" was framed partly through Art Angel donations and will be unveiled later this year.
The museum hosts several exhibits during the year, ranging from painting to sculpture to photography. Following the student and faculty art exhibition this spring, selections from the permanent collection will be on display from June 20 - Aug. 3.
For more information, contact museum director Karin Gilliam at 254-710-6390 or visit online at www.baylor.edu/martinmuseum.