A Gift That Will Keep On Giving: Art Gift Arrives at New Home

Last month, the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University began receiving nearly 200 works of art, including works by pivotal figures in the history of European art, in its recently completed 6,000 sq. feet of additional galleries and storage spaces. The Hartford-Tandstad Collection, a 2011 promised gift from generous donors Larry Hartford and Torleif Tandstad, served as the catalyst for the expansion of the museum. Additional items, such as an extensive art research library, will continue to arrive throughout the spring semester.

A collection of this size of work from European artists, which includes nearly fifty works on paper largely purchased in London from 1969-1975, would be difficult to amass today due to availability and cost. The extraordinary gift, donated in cooperation with the Tessa Foundation, and its creators, David G. Neenan and Sharon L. Neenan, is the largest ever received by the museum and has been valued at over $1.5 million.

The collector, Torleif Tandstad, speaks with University Center for the Arts Creative Director Mike Solo, in his home as works of art are packed for museum delivery.
The collector, Torleif Tandstad, speaks with University Center for the Arts Creative Director Mike Solo, in his home as works of art are packed for museum delivery.

The longtime Los Angeles art appraisers and business partners, who retired to Fort Collins in the 90s, made the bequest in honor of their mothers, Della Von Routt and Berta Midtbust Tandstad.

“We are so grateful that these respected art appraisers have entrusted their extensive art collection and research materials to Colorado State University,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement. “These tremendous gifts not only support the vibrant arts culture in our community but provide our students with such fantastic exposure to art through the ages that helps enrich and bring to life their learning.”

The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (formerly the University Art Museum) recently announced its new name and grand re-opening. Thanks to a generous gift of more than two million dollars from a lead donor, the museum will open its expanded and remodeled space with a public event on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Leading up to the re-opening in Sept., nine new exhibitions will be installed by museum curators and staff. In addition to the Hartford-Tandstad focus, the museum’s growing and stellar African and Native American collections, as well as a temporary exhibition of contemporary photography, will be on display during the fall semester.

Works from the Hartford-Tandstad collection are received into the new gallery spaces at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.
Works from the Hartford-Tandstad collection are received into the new gallery spaces at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.

Three themes will be presented in the beautiful new galleries. The eclectic Hartford-Tandstad collection, formed through the love of particular pieces by the donors, isn’t specifically encyclopedic or cohesive, yet, art historians recognize themes that are important to museum visitors today: themes of power and control; themes of interaction with nature and our impact on the environment; and themes of how cultures have, and continue to, interact.

“A curatorial team of art historians has long been thinking about how the works in this collection can tell stories and illustrate the importance of the visual arts to understanding our remarkable histories and cultures,” said Museum Director Linny Frickman. By presenting new ideas through these resources, museum staff hopes Colorado residents and visitors will more fully evaluate their own points of view and understanding of others.

Museum Director Linny Frickman and and Collections Manager Suzanne Hale check off inventory as works arrive.
Museum Director Linny Frickman and and Collections Manager Suzanne Hale check off inventory as works arrive.

Prior to the expansion, the original museum space accommodated just three concurrent, rotating exhibitions. Due to the new combination of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the scope of what can be accomplished expands the museum’s impact and reach.

Since its opening in 2009, Poudre School District teachers, as well as faculty at CSU and other institutions, have often used the museum’s exhibitions as a reference for teaching a variety of subjects, but were not able to depend on the consistent display of specific material. “We can now begin to develop in-depth curriculum that educators can return to each year,” explained Frickman.

“I hope all the [students] at the university will be able to have this as a learning tool,” said Hartford in an interview before his death in 2011. “Then, I will feel my life was worthwhile.” Tandstad echoed this inspired sentiment while the pieces were being packed in his home.

The museum team’s vision for the visual arts as a flexible entry point to learning in other disciplines is being realized. For example, the museum is pioneering a project first developed in South Africa where African beadwork is utilized in the instruction of algebra and geometry. With a dedicated gallery for the museum’s African Collection, the museum can help expand STEM to STEAM education, while stimulating dialogues across disciplines.

To enhance and improve the museum’s educational goals and offerings to the community, including expanding children’s programming, and inspiring lifelong learning, renovations have begun on the original galleries. The makeover, which will be completed in April 2016, creates a much needed learning center space for classes, workshops, visiting artist lectures, and public outreach, as well as a visitor service area for storing personal items.

Many galleries within the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art are named with financial investments from art supporters. Gifts to the remaining naming opportunities will be used to support the museum’s exhibitions and programs. As the museum commands a larger physical and theoretical space, additional staff will be needed to foster visitor engagement, expedite program implementation, and safeguard the collection.

“We’re so grateful to donors who are inquiring about these ongoing needs,” Frickman said.

///// Remaining Naming Opportunities:

Gallery A housing the African Collection: $125,000
Bridge walkway: $35,000
Central Front Gallery: $125,000
Back Gallery: $55,000
Intimate Gallery housing works on paper: $80,000
Library Shelving: $15,000

The new look, and over double the exhibition space, truly propels the mission of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University. “The museum invites individuals to engage with art and each other to inspire fresh perspectives and wonder,” enthused Frickman. “The Museum is a catalyst for visual literacy and critical thinking that instills a passion for learning.”

For more information about remaining naming opportunities, contact Tonya Malik-Carson in the College of Liberal Arts Development Office at (970) 491-3558. Or, to give a gift to support the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, click here.

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