Western Gallery has 4,500 square feet of exhibition space and features 5-6 temporary art exhibitions annually, concentrating on national and international art. The gallery is also responsible for Western’s Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The gallery began in 1938 the as the Studio Gallery at the College of Education. In the late 1980s a wing was added to the Fine Arts Building and professional staff hired. The gallery is operated under the College of Fine and Performing Arts as a separate administrative entity. It is defined as a university institution whose purpose is to collect, exhibit, and preserve visual art materials, and to further encourage the use of these materials for educational and research purposes.
The Western Gallery provides diverse experiences in the visual arts for its constituencies, encompassing the University community and region while providing a point of reference to the national and international art scene. Through historical, contemporary and experimental art exhibitions, through the outdoor collection of contemporary sculpture, through publications and through interpretative interdisciplinary programs, the Western Gallery is committed to creating an environment for learning. The gallery acts as a center for discussion and exchange of ideas on critical issues in contemporary art. The Western Gallery recognizes its role in expanding its audience's awareness of the visual arts as central to the dynamic and pluralistic nature of our society.
Washington Art Consortium
The office of the Washington Art Consortium is located in the Western Gallery. A unique prototype for collaboration, the Consortium consists of seven major institutions: Western Gallery, a founding member, Henry Gallery of University of Washington, NW Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane), Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State University Museum of Art (Pullman), and Whatcom Museum of History and Art (Bellingham). The Consortium owns three American and one Northwest works on paper collections.
The gallery's staff, led by Paul Brower, museum specialist and preservationist, is responsible for installing in public spaces works of art belonging to the university's collections. A variable fee is charged (a) for services, additional hanging materials and equipment usage for display of 1-3 art works at $30-$50; (b) for the design (small exhibition) or redesign (rearrangement of art owned by unit) of art hangings, manufacture of hardware, procurement of wall hanging panels, etc. at $50 or more depending on job.