The Western Gallery features 5-6 temporary art exhibitions annually, concentrating on national and international art. The gallery has 4,500 square feet of exhibition space in a wing of the Fine Arts Building, and three smaller spaces in the Performing Arts Center, where Northwest art from the collection is shown. The Western Gallery also oversees the university campus collection of sculpture. Founded in 1938 as the Studio Gallery of the Fine Arts Department, the gallery became a separate administrative entity within the College of Fine and Performing Arts in the late 1980s. The Western Gallery 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.
The gallery's staff, led by museum specialist and preservationist Paul Brower, installs artworks from the Western Gallery's portable collection and the university's collections in offices and interior public spaces around campus . 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.