Joyce Ice, Director of the Art Museum, joined the WVU community in January 2009. With nearly 25 years of experience in the museum field, she was Director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for nine years where she oversaw numerous international exhibitions and accompanying publications, as well as an award-winning school program. She served as editor for a collection of essays, On Collecting: From Private to Public, from the University of Washington Press (2009). A graduate of WVU and the University of Texas, Austin, Ice returned home to her alma mater to take on the challenge of building a new museum in her native state.
“The Art Museum will be a place where people can experience art in an inviting and beautiful setting that encourages them to take a closer look,” Ice says. “We want people to feel exhilarated and inspired by the art, genius, creativity and skill that they encounter at the museum. Art helps connect us to other human beings, and to other cultures past and present.”
Robert Bridges, Curator of the Art Museum, earned his MFA in printmaking at WVU. Since 2000, he has organized exhibits in the Mesaros Galleries at the College of Creative Arts. Among them are the international exhibition “Ceramic Art from the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute” and two national exhibitions featuring the work of American Modernist Blanche Lazzell, a West Virginia native. Bridges is a co-editor of the book Blanche Lazzell, The Life and Work of an American Modernist (2004) from WVU Press. Previously, he was a curator in the private sector in Chicago.
Valerie M. Wright, Museum Registrar and Collection Manager, joined the staff in January 2010. She comes to WVU from Brandeis University having worked at the Rose Art Museum as the Collections Manager and Registrar. Her educational background includes Museum Studies and collection management-focused internships, including one at Harvard Art Museums in Massachusetts. At the Rose Art Museum, Wright managed a contemporary art collection of over 7,000 pieces and the Student Loan collection, coordinated nine exhibitions per year, and also taught undergraduate and graduate student internships.
J. Bernard Schultz, Professor of Art History, served on the museum staff from July 2011 to 2014. Currently, his faculty service appointment remains with the museum, where he oversees the docent education program among other duties. Bernie is active in the Art Up Close! lecture series and in the Friends group. He specializes in Italian Renaissance art and has been recognized for his outstanding teaching. Bernie’s publications include the nationally distributed college textbook Art Past/Art Present with David G. Wilkins and Katheryn M. Linduff. He is a former Dean of the College of Creative Arts, WVU, and he serves as a member of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
The Art Museum will expand educational opportunities for WVU students, faculty and staff while serving as a cultural resource for northern West Virginia and the surrounding region. Funding for the project comes from the University as well as private donors through the West Virginia University Foundation.