Collection Development Statement

The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery is an academic resource of St. Lawrence University and serves as the curator of its permanent collection of nearly 7,000 art objects and artifacts. As set forth in its Mission Statement, the Gallery's purpose is to "acquire, preserve, interpret, exhibit, and otherwise provide access to works of art" and to enhance the University's academic programs and the cultural life of the community at large. 

Twentieth-century American and European works on paper, including prints, photographs, drawings, and artists' books and portfolios, represent the strengths of the permanent collection. Significant holdings in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European sculpture, ceramics, and painting, as well as in African objects, enhance ongoing programs of study at St. Lawrence University.

The University views its collection primarily as an educational resource. As such, original art objects and artifacts serve a variety of pedagogical objectives, which include the following:

  • to inspire creative and analytical work across the academic disciplines;
  • to teach, through first-hand study, strategies and techniques of artistic creation and production;
  • to teach about historical and contemporary cultures;
  • to teach museology through the direct practice of museum display and interpretation;
  • to make art objects available to scholars, museums, and educational institutions for purposes of exhibition, research, or education.

The diversity of these objectives and the inevitability of change within the institution's curricular initiatives require the Gallery Director to exercise discretion in balancing the Gallery's various objectives. Therefore, the Director will periodically re-examine collection development goals in conjunction with appropriate administrative and advisory bodies. 

In general, the Acquisitions Policy and Deaccessions Policy give the Director the authority:

  • to determine acquisitions and deaccessions by a variety of criteria, which may include, but are not restricted to, quality judgements, usefulness for teaching purposes, and market value;
  • to accept or decline purchases or gifts based on practical considerations and broader goals of collection development;
  • to build upon existing strengths of the collection;
  • to reflect the University's curricular initiatives;
  • to acquire works indicative of new directions in the arts.

Named in recognition of the generosity of Richard F. Brush '52, the Gallery is an academic resource of St. Lawrence University, an independent liberal arts institution.

Approved by the Library and Art Gallery Committee and the Dean of Academic Affairs.