Mission and History

Gallery interns clean bronzes on campus.

 Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

The mission of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is to serve as an important teaching instrument and visual resource in the education of Scripps women. The main purpose of the Gallery is to acquire, preserve, catalog, research, and exhibit works of art in Scripps College’s collection. The Gallery makes use of this collection, works loaned from other institutions, as well as works of diverse artists, to present exhibitions that enhance the Scripps curriculum in the arts and humanities. The Gallery offers four exhibitions annually. While some works from the permanent collection are often displayed in exhibitions, the permanent collection is not on display. The works can be viewed online at http://web-kiosk.scrippscollege.edu/

With its focus on education, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery stewards a rich array of historical and contemporary art, including a world-renowned contemporary ceramics collection; a superb collection of Japanese prints from the 15th through the 21st centuries; Chinese paintings dating back six hundred years; works of leading painters from the 19th and 20th centuries; a growing collection of African American contemporary art and art by female artists; and a photography collection that boasts works from the inception of the medium through today.

Since 1993, the Gallery has managed a robust internship program. Internships are held during the academic year as well as the summer season. The programs have been created with the goal of readying students to enter the many areas of arts administration, curating and art conservation. After completing their educations, former interns are now curators, gallerists, instructors, conservators, and directors of museums.

Art exhibitions have long been integral to the art program at Scripps, beginning in the late 1930s. Today, two of the Gallery’s four yearly shows are the Senior Exhibition and the Ceramic Annual. Supported by Gallery staff but responsible for every aspect of the exhibition, seniors take on many challenges as they create the Senior Exhibition, bringing their undergraduate studies in studio art to a strong finish. The Annual, a tradition for over seven decades, is the longest-running show of contemporary ceramics in the United States, and one of the oldest worldwide.

Art from the Scripps College permanent collection regularly appears in major exhibitions across the country, at venues such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Museum of Art and Design, New York City, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, along with Southern Californian institutions such as LACMA, the UCLA Fowler, and the Pacific Asia Museum.