New exhibit, same purpose: Importance of art museum on campus begins with visiting accessible gallery

By Matt Dotson, Reporter

Baylor’s Martin Museum of Art is ready to start off the fall semester featuring “Line & Space” by Doris Schlapfer and Erin Wiersma and “Shifting Currents” by Bonnie Stahlecker and David Morrison from Friday to Sept. 20.

Alison Chew Syltie, Martin Museum director said oftentimes people don’t know what it takes to set up exhibits.

Preparation starts 18 months to two years in advance. Faculty must nominate what artist they would like to see. The following months are spent working out contracts and other details, such as educational material and hanging the exhibits.

“It can take several months to find an artist, settle on a date and get all the paperwork taken care of,” Syltie said. “The actual installment of the exhibit can take up to two weeks depending on the complexity of the exhibition.”

All this hard work has a clear direction, said Megan Wilson, museum collections manager.

“The mission of the Martin Museum is to support the teaching going on at the university, provide a leisurely activity for students and the members of the community, and to encourage the visual literacy of the community around us,” Wilson said.

The Martin Museum is the only museum collecting art between the Dallas an Austin area, Wilson said.

“We see it as an opportunity to do something for the Baylor community, the local community and all those involved,” Syltie said. “A lot of students especially in the K-through-12 region don’t get to go to art museums a lot. We provide an opportunity for those kids to come here at no cost to see artwork and artists, lectures and demonstrations that they would not normally get to see, which is a very enriching opportunity. “

Syltie said she considers her job a life-calling.

“It’s very exciting to get involved with a museum to bring artistic and visual arts to the community that they normally don’t get to experience,” Syltie said.

Wilson said these experiences provide her with new opportunities to learn.

“I have my master’s in art history and museum studies, but this is the dream,” Wilson said.

“We have the artist to come in and explain their work. It’s always a new chance to learn a little more about the process and the craft that goes behind it. It re-engages me with art when I hear them speak.”