Founded in 1959 and comprising five wings, more than 8,000 works, and more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Colby College Museum of Art has built an important collection that specializes in American and contemporary art with additional, select collections of Chinese antiquities, European paintings, and works on paper by Picasso, Goya, Hiroshige, Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, James McNeill Whistler, and others. The Colby Museum of Art serves as a primary teaching resource for Colby College and is a major cultural destination for residents of and visitors to the state.
With students as the primary focus of its education programs, the museum works closely with faculty to fully integrate object-based learning into the curriculum. Currently, more than 100 academic courses across 26 departments visit each year, studying in the galleries and using the Landay Teaching Gallery and the Mirken Education Center. In addition, Colby students are engaged in a variety of professional experiences, through participation in the museum’s student docent, internship, and work-study programs, as well as the Student Advisory Board, which is committed to establishing closer connections between the student body and the museum.
Throughout the academic year, the museum hosts a robust schedule of events, including artist talks, lectures, and performances, as well as film screenings and concerts. Frequent partnerships with Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement allow for faculty and student involvement with the arts across all disciplines. The museum also coordinates special events with its arts and cultural partners in Waterville to extend programmatic offerings throughout the community.
In 2013 the Colby Museum of Art inaugurated the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, which encompasses a spacious lobby, a sculpture gallery and terrace, as well as additional exhibition galleries, classrooms, expanded collection storage, and staff offices. A three-story wall drawing by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt occupies the glass-enclosed stairwell, while the pavilion’s upper floor is dedicated to the College’s Department of Art, providing studios for photography and fine arts foundation classes.