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News >  Higher education

Jundt Art Museum reopens for viewings by appointments only

By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

The Jundt Art Museum on the Gonzaga University campus, which spent months shuttered or limited to only Gonzaga students, is now open to the general public once again.

The museum at 200 E. Desmet Ave. is open by appointment to individuals or groups of five people or fewer. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance by calling (509) 313-6611.

The museum opened its doors to the public on April 6, but had been open to students by appointment since September, said museum Director Paul Manoguerra.

It was tough when the museum had to shut down last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Manoguerra said.

“We as a staff spend so much time attempting to be as open and accessible as possible,” he said. “We’ve always been free. Before all you had to do was walk in when we were open.”

Closing was also tough because the museum was hosting an exhibit at the time that had taken six years to prepare. Titled “A Grand Tour: Images of Italy from the Permanent Collection of the Jundt Art Museum,” the exhibit was also the basis for a book the museum published.

The current exhibit, “Seven Years of Acquisitions,” highlights some of the hundreds of new items the museum received between 2013 and 2020. Some were donated by the artists and some were donated by community members.

“The current exhibition we’re showing now is the one we were supposed to have last summer to celebrate our 25th anniversary,” he said.

The more than 100 items in the exhibit include mixed media works, statues, pottery, paintings and photographs. Notable artists include famed photographer Ansel Adams, pop artist Andy Warhol, local sculptor and artist Harold Balazs and local artist Shani Marchant.

“It’s a variety,” Manoguerra said. “It’s eclectic. It matches the nature of the collection.”

The exhibit, which is intended to be a sampling of new acquisitions, fills the museum, with the exception of the Chancellor’s Room. The centerpiece of that room is the “Gonzaga Red Chandelier,” a combination of glass, steel and neon created by noted glass artist Dale Chihuly. The chandelier is 18 feet long and weighs more than 1,500 pounds. The room also includes a display of other pieces created by Chihuly.

The Jundt Art Museum is not the only museum to have been at Gonzaga during the university’s history. “This is the third iteration of a museum on this campus,” he said.

Years ago, the Jesuits had a collection of historical artifacts on display in College Hall. That was followed by the Museum of Native American Culture, which closed in the 1980s. Jundt opened in 1995. The museum opened with 800 objects, mostly works on paper, donated by philanthropists Norman and Esther Bolker.

Norman Bolker was a physician, writer and poet. He and his wife were heavily involved in the community and both served as regents at Gonzaga University. Esther Bolker died in 2013, and Norman Bolker died the following year.

Since their donation launched the Jundt Art Museum, the museum’s collection has greatly expanded, Manoguerra said. “Now, we’re pushing 6,000 objects,” he said.

The museum has been using social media to spread the word the facility is open by appointment. Each group that comes through is allowed an hour to enjoy the exhibit uninterrupted.

“It’s been a couple appointments a day,” Manoguerra said. “It’s a poor substitute for being open, but it’s better than being closed.”

Manoguerra is looking forward to the day when students of all ages come through in large groups again. Some teachers would bring their students every year, he said.

“We get K-12 students, high school students from Rogers (High School) and Gonzaga Prep,” he said. “We want all of that to come back. It’s just a matter of when.”

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Nina Culver can be reached at nculver47@gmail.com

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