Campus & Culture
A prominent statue carver introduced Saint Joseph’s students to Taiwan’s religious culture during his two weeks as an artist-in-residence on Hawk Hill.
Campus & Culture
Saint Joseph's University will open the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum to the public on May 6, following a meticulous five-year renovation of its historic building, the former Barnes Foundation gallery building. The University will celebrate the opening with a weekend of access to the Museum galleries. On display are pieces from the University’s permanent art collection, as well as the first rotating exhibition, “Shifting Ecologies: Contemporary Artists and The Environment,” which features 15 artists who work in a variety of media. Opening weekend will also feature family friendly activities in the surrounding Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University.
“Creative partnerships and strategic affiliations are key to what we do here at Saint Joseph’s and who we are as an anchor institution within our communities,” says Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD, president of Saint Joseph’s. “Our unique affiliation agreement with the Barnes Foundation, with transformational support from the Maguire Foundation, has opened up access to arts education for our campus and the local community, all while preserving a treasure of American architecture and art.”
In 2018, the Barnes Foundation and Saint Joseph’s entered an educational affiliation just as longtime benefactor James J. '58 and Frances M. Maguire's H '14 made a historic $50 million gift to SJU. A portion of that gift went to naming the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum to honor Frannie (as friends and family knew her) as an accomplished artist and arts advocate.
“My mother was an incredible champion for the arts and culture in Philadelphia and her influence is evident throughout the region and now in Lower Merion at the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum,” says Megan Maguire Nicoletti ’08 (MS), president and CEO of the Maguire Foundation. “This is a wonderful day for our family and our hope is that the museum will inspire future generations to explore, appreciate and celebrate the beauty of artistic expression.”
The Maguire Art Museum’s historic building was designed by renowned architect Paul Philippe Cret for Philadelphia art collector and educator Dr. Albert C. Barnes, and served as a gallery for the art collection of the Barnes Foundation — one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings — from 1925 until 2011.
DIGSAU, a Philadelphia-based architectural firm, led the renovations, creating a space that meticulously preserves the Beaux-Arts charm that Cret originally infused into the property.
Nestled within the Barnes Arboretum at Saint Josephs’ University, the Maguire Art Museum now includes 15 galleries, teaching and performance space, and enhanced accessibility. It is home to the University’s art collection, which includes approximately 3,000 artworks produced over nearly three millennia in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Especially well represented are works produced in Latin America from the 17th through the 21st centuries. The Maguire Art Museum will regularly host rotating exhibitions with an emphasis on contemporary art.
"We are thrilled to be starting a new chapter, a new life, for this extraordinary building and revitalizing the gallery in keeping with its original purpose," says Emily Hage, PhD, director of the Maguire Art Museum and professor of art history at Saint Joseph's University. "The Museum is a long-awaited, centralized home for the University’s diverse art collection, and an incredible resource for the University and the community at large."
Saint Joseph’s looks forward to sharing and celebrating the power of art and education within the community. Hage and a newly established museum staff are crafting programming with University students, faculty, and staff, as well as K-12 students and other community partners.
"We have developed myriad programs—including lectures, tours, and games—for a variety of audiences, all designed to make the Museum a fun, welcoming, and inspiring destination," says Hage.
Beginning on May 6, the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum will be open from Thursday through Saturday, 11am – 4pm. It will be closed in July and August to prepare for the academic year, reopening with the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10. For more information on the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum, visit sju.edu/maguire-art-museum.