“The only way to understand painting is to go and look at it. And if out of a million visitors, there is even one to whom art means something, that is enough to justify museums.” -Pierre-Auguste Renoir
In the Fall of 1960, the first permanent art gallery is established at Baylor University. Multiple venues and spaces are used to showcase fine art on campus during the 60s. These spaces include the Theater Building, Carroll Science Building, Tidwell Bible Building, Moody Library Foyer, and the lobby of Waco Hall.
In 1961, some of the first artworks were donated to Baylor University, representing the beginning of a dedicated collection for the college. Over the next five decades, the collection has grown exponentially to more than 1,500 works.
The first Baylor Art Museum was dedicated in 1967. The space consists of the McArdle and Kinzinger Galleries, named for two former Department of Art Chairs. The Museum is housed in the Carroll Science Building.
In 1980, the Departments of Theatre and Art moved into a newly constructed Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Thanks to the generous contribution of Mrs. Lady Hooper-Scheafer’s niece, Mrs. Ruby Laura Hooper Martin, a dedicated space for a Museum is included in the construction. The collection of art at the University now has a true home to grow and be showcased alongside visiting artists and traveling exhibitions. The Martin Museum of Art is officially dedicated under President Herbert Reynolds and Dr. Harold Simmons, chairman of the Fine Arts Department, during the 1981-82 academic year.
The Martin Museum of Art now celebrates 40 years of exhibitions, programs, collecting, and engaging with our visitors and patrons. As we move forward, we hope to continue preserving a vital collection, hosting educational and informative exhibitions, and providing our constitutes with thoughtful, meaningful, and diverse stories of culture, history, and inspiration.