The mission of the Wriston Art Center Galleries is to strengthen Lawrence University's liberal arts education and outreach by stimulating thought, inspiring creativity, providing insight, and inviting contemplation by students, faculty, staff, and the community through interaction with the original works of art and cultural objects that the galleries exhibit and collect.
The Wriston Art Center Galleries is made up of three exhibition spaces of ascending size: the Leech, Hoffmaster and Kohler Galleries. During the academic year, the galleries present several exhibitions of regional and national significance featuring the work of contemporary artists, selections from the Permanent Collection, and examples of anthropological and ethnographic objects, as well as the Annual Senior Art Show.
The Wriston Art Galleries Permanent Collection has been built primarily through donations from generous alumni and friends of Lawrence University. The collection contains more than 3,000 items- prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture, as well as coins, textiles, posters and ritual and vernacular objects- which span historical periods from antiquity to the present and come from all over the world.
Dedicated in 1989, the Wriston Art Center is named for Lawrence University's 8th president, Henry Merritt Wriston (1889-1978; president, 1925-1937). The building was designed by Jefferson Riley, '68, a Lawrence alumni and graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, and Centerbrook Architects. In addition to the galleries and the Quirk Print Study Room, the Wriston Art Center houses the Art & Art History Department.