The Western Gallery
The Western Gallery is the art museum of the Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Its mission is to provide free access to a wide range of contemporary art to the North Puget Sound communities, Western Washington, Bellingham, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C. With a point of reference to the national art scene, the Western Gallery is committed to creating an environment for learning and a center for interdisciplinary discussion of critical issues through historical, contemporary, and experimental art exhibitions, interpretive programs, publications, and a renowned collection of publicly sited contemporary sculpture.
The Western Gallery presents six temporary exhibitions annually, concentrating on national and international art. Northwest paintings from the collection are shown in three smaller galleries in the Performing Arts Center. Being an academic art museum, the Western Gallery emphasizes education and public programming. The museum offers guided tours to organized groups and more than 40 events annually, ranging from artist talks to symposia and performance festivals.
In an effort to engage the whole university as well as the diverse community that the museum serves, exhibition related discussions have included industrial designers, cybersecurity experts, lawyers, journalists, WWU faculty in the sciences and humanities, international artists and other luminaries. The museum also plays host to contemporary dance performances, jazz, chamber music, and alternative music concerts.
The Western Gallery oversees Western’s outdoor sculpture collection, which has twice been selected as one of ten most important university campus collections in the country. The collection consists of major work by distinguished contemporary American and European sculptors of the late 20th century to the present. The museum’s portable collection focuses on 20th century prints and drawings by North American, European and Japanese artist. In 2017, the museum received 97 works on paper from 1945-1975 (mostly drawings) by 48 major American artists. This collection, which was created by Virginia Wright and Richard Bellamy and came to the Western Gallery via the Washington Art Consortium, complements the sculpture collection and creates a foundation for exhibitions and research of this period of American art.