CSU Art Museums Showcasing and Developing Talent
August 30, 2012
By Stephanie Thara
The art museums located on the CSU Long Beach and CSU San Bernardino campuses have become cultural icons on the campus and in the community. The University Art Museum (UAM) at CSULB and the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at CSUSB are responsible for showcasing wide-ranging exhibitions, educating the public and campus community about art, and training students to become experts in museum related careers.
Presenting exhibitions that blend visual arts with technology, music and contemporary culture, the UAM at CSULB has showcased pieces that define significant moments in contemporary art to national and international audiences for over 30 years. The UAM maintains a permanent assortment of over 1,600 works of art that include drawings, photographs, a collection of mid-century American paintings and outdoor sculptures that are strategically placed throughout the campus.
“Through groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions, new art and technology projects, and innovative sound works, the UAM is blurring the boundaries between visual arts and design, technology, music and contemporary culture,” said Chris Scoates, director of UAM.
Much more than just a home for art, the UAM staff works with students to help train them for future careers as museum professionals, art educators, art administrators and artists. Open to students, scholars and the general public, the UAM strives to serve the regional community by offering unique opportunities to interact with artists through residencies, workshops and lectures.
At CSUSB’s RAFFMA, visitors can explore Ancient Egypt with the museum’s permanent collection of Egyptian art—the 500-piece compilation encompasses over 4,000 years of Egyptian history.
“We are one of the few museums in the Western United States that showcase Egyptian Art,” said Eva Kirsch, director of RAFFMA. “We are actually the only museum on a university that has an Ancient Egyptian collection.”
Each year, RAFFMA organizes a Summer Egyptian Art Workshop for local middle school students that includes hands-on activities, educational lectures and special tours of the museum's assortment of Egyptian antiquities that are led by trained docents and student assistants. In addition to preparing activities that help middle schoolers learn about Egypt’s history, university students can participate in a gallery management class where they can potentially be hired on to work as a museum staff member.
“Students get trained on museum operations, assist with openings, help exhibitionists, and can eventually become assistant registrars,” said Kirsh.
RAFFMA and UAM strive to provide visitors with a cultural experience through an eclectic mix of artwork from students, up-and-coming artists and established professionals. Both museums have been recognized for their commitment to excellence and high professional standards by the American Association of Museums, making them among the 16 percent of university museums in the nation that are AAM accredited.