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Exterior of the Spencer Museum at Sunset
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Overview

With a diverse collection of more than 45,000 art objects and works of cultural significance, the Spencer is the only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas and serves more than 100,000 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 is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and participates in the Association of Art Museum Directors.


Mission

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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.


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Saralyn Reece Hardy, Marilyn Stokstad Director

Director's Remarks

Every participant in the Spencer Museum—staff, students, funders, visitors, artists, scholars, and volunteers—enlivens conversation about how the power of art can expand worlds and deepen understanding. The work of building communities through art belongs to all of us and offers us an opportunity. How can each of us add our voice and contribute?

Institutional priorities often come from individual interests. Our collection’s strength in works on paper, which compose nearly half of our holdings, is especially useful for educational purposes as we nimbly share in the Goddard Study Center, and these works increase the Museum’s capacity to develop exhibitions and projects that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Open doors for art can in turn open minds and hearts. In a time when global issues such as climate change and human rights demand empathy and rigorous attention, the Spencer’s work provides crucial spaces and opportunities to express, question, and to care for the world and its diverse inhabitants

I have grown to believe that an art museum’s path is guided most profoundly by relationships on the common ground of creative endeavor and artistic freedom. It is individuals who find and emanate daily joy and meaning in art and who are willing to share the pleasures and challenges of it who build a strong and worthy institution.

I invite you to explore our dynamic exhibitions, diverse programs, and engaging community events as we continue to support the pivotal role of the arts at KU, within Lawrence, and beyond.

—Saralyn Reece Hardy