Art from the Collectors Circle: Expanding the Legacy 2010-2020

WFMA at MSU Texas presents retrospective exhibition

The Wichita Falls Museum of Art Collectors Circle, formed by dedicated community members in 2010, creates a vehicle for the museum to collect in support of its focus of American art on paper.

The WFMA at MSU Texas will present a retrospective exhibition of art acquired by the Collectors Circle with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14. 

Other activities to engage with this exhibition include an On the Wall Workshop exploring abstract watercolor inspired by the work of Native American artist Emmi Whitehorse, led by WFMA Teaching Artist Ginger Boller in January next year. In addition, Curator Danny Bills offers a guided tour every Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Collectors Circle members experience firsthand what is available in the art market, how selected works enhance the museum collection, and what goes into care, conservation, and presentation of art.

“One of my most enjoyable museum experiences as a curator has been working with the Collectors Circle,” Bills said. “The members not only help the museum collect, but they also experience firsthand what is available on the art market, how curators use networking, and what goes into care, conservation, and presentation of artwork.”

Retrospective typically refers to achievement by a single artist, highlighting the changes and developments in a body of work, often over a lifetime. In this exhibition, the term illustrates how a decade of collecting has contributed to opportunities for museum visitors to find relevance at the WFMA by strategically selecting works that increase the breadth, depth, and diversity of the Permanent Collection.

When acquisitions are curated into exhibitions that serve the cultural life of the region and reflect the human experience for generations to come, the members see the benefits of the program. With more than 82 acquisitions since its inception, the Collectors Circle created a transformative decade.

“For the past decade, I have curated work for Collectors Circle purchases, paying attention to certain questions that evaluate an artwork’s relationship to art history, cultural diversity, artistic technique, and the existing story of the WFMA collection,” Bills said. “When an artwork checks the YES box for any or all of these questions, we see how much impact their purchases have on museum education, representational diversity, and audience development and outreach.”

Unlike a private collection, a museum collection is available to the public. Museums are steadfast protectors and organizers of these valuable items for public benefit. This principle is known as Public Trust. According to the American Alliance of Museums, the WFMA’s accrediting body, “In essence, (public trust) means that the public owns the collections, and they should remain available so the public can study them, enjoy them, and learn from them.”

MSU Texas Professor of Art Catherine Prose will present a lecture at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 9.

More about the Collectors Circle and the collection:

  • — Throughout the year, Circle members learn about artists and artworks identified to enrich the Permanent Collection. Then, once a year the Collectors Circle gathers at the museum for an elegant and lively event to see prospective acquisitions, hear details from the curator, and vote on selections for purchase. To become a Circle Member, contact Connie Nolen today at 940-397-8900.
  • — Of the 1,690 total pieces in the WFMA fine art collection:
  • 82 pieces have been acquired by the Collectors Circle, representing 4.9% of the collection.
  • — 22 of the 82 works acquired by the Collectors Circle or 26.8% were made by women. Only 11% of art acquired by top US museums from 2008-18 was made by women, according to a study referenced in The New York Times. In 10 years, the WFMA Collectors Circle outperformed that rate by more than 15%.
  • 55 artworks of the 1,690 are made by people of color, representing 3.3% of works in the collection. Of these 55 pieces, 27 or 49.1%, were acquired by the Collectors Circle, effectively doubling these holdings.
  •  
  • Call the WFMA at 940-397-8900 for more information.

Contact Us

Feature photo

Neal Ambrose-Smith, Where are My Heroes, 2016, Color lithograph with watercolor additions; Museum purchase made possible by the 2017 Collectors Circle.