With a diverse collection of more than 48,000 art objects and works of cultural significance, the Spencer is the only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas and serves more than 50,000 visitors annually.
The Museum’s vision is to present its collection as a living archive that motivates object-centered research and teaching, creative work, and transformative public dialogue. The Spencer facilitates arts engagement and research through exhibitions, artist commissions and residencies, conferences, film screenings, musical and dramatic performances, artist- and scholar-led lectures, children’s art activities, and community arts and culture festivals.
The Spencer Museum of Art sustains a culturally diverse collection and encourages interdisciplinary exploration at the intersection of art, ideas, and experience. The Spencer strengthens, supports, and contributes to the academic research and teaching of The University of Kansas and is committed to serving communities of learners across Kansas and beyond.
Reading, writing, and walking define a semester of learning and listening through art. Our fall exhibitions Black Writing and Reading the World go beyond the traditional definition of literacy. Objects demand attention of a quiet and absorbing kind, blurring the distances between author, artist, and audience. Further afield, here-ing requires a pilgrimage to the KU Field Station to walk pathways for meditative passage and tune in to the environment.
Your contributions during the last year have been bountiful. We finished fundraising for our building renovation and collection gallery update, but you also supported many ongoing projects. As Friends of the Spencer, you create the thriving and ever-changing Museum of today. Our next exhilarating challenge is to fully endow our Arts Research Integration (ARI) program by raising the remaining $750,000 to match the generosity of lead donor Margaret Silva.
I especially want to recognize the phenomenal growth of our internship program. Kathy Loo and her family led the way to endow our internship program. Esther and Joe Berkeley were also among the first to respond to the challenge grant from the Mellon Foundation, and other donors include Sam and Connie Perkins, Jack and Lavon Brosseau, Robert Hiller, and Don Sloan. The program has expanded to fulfill our vision of creating an exceptional learning community for graduate students embedded in the Spencer’s work.
When you next visit, we now have free parking in the Mississippi Street garage, which means we can truly invite all to come to the Spencer Museum. We are grateful to all who helped us lift this barrier and we know that you will invite others to enjoy art with this new benefit of hospitality and accessibility.
When you enter our doors please stop to say ‘Hi’ to someone at the Welcome Desk or in the galleries. You will find a dedicated staff of caring and committed people ready to respond and listen. We would love to see you.
—Saralyn Reece Hardy
This six-year plan outlines the Museum's guiding principles and goals.