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Head's February Message

February 21, 2019

With the opening of the STAR building, a great deal of focus has been placed on the work our students are now able to do in STEM fields — and the response to the new facilities has been profoundly positive. But it’s also an incredible time for the arts at Burroughs, and I am constantly in awe of what our students are exposed to, and create, in the fine arts.
 
On Saturday, April 13, we will hold our annual Art for Breakfast program. In recent years, the event has been held at the Contemporary Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. This year, we are excited to hold the event here at Burroughs to showcase the work in our permanent collection of fine art. Many people don’t realize what a remarkable collection we have!
 
Throughout the school’s history, many alums, parents, friends and faculty have donated work. About 30 years ago, an anonymous donor established the Frances Thomas Martin Art Purchase Fund, which was designed to supplement those donations and allow the school to purchase art that might be particularly useful to teachers in their instruction. In 2008, we established the Fine Arts Advisory Committee (FAAC) to help guide our acquisitions. The FAAC is comprised of alums, parents, friends and faculty who are also artists, gallery owners, collectors, historians, curators and docents.
 
Co-chaired by current parents Dwyer Brown and William Shearburn ’79, the FAAC has done remarkable work for the school. The collection now stands at more than 350 pieces, including works by Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Willem de Kooning, Jennifer Bartlett, Grace Hartigan, Wayne Thiebaud, Juan Sanchez, Ernest Withers and George Caleb Bingham. We are fortunate that the collection grows every year.
 
Many of you have already seen the beautiful Donald Sultan sculpture, Three Corten Poppies, that sits on the east side of the STAR building. There are other new pieces in and around the STAR that you will enjoy experiencing, including two exceptional works in the arrival court: Tom Friedman’s ’83 piece, There, under the floor, and the Matthew and Jane Newman family ceramics collection in the library display window.
 
On top of the permanent collection, the committee has been instrumental in securing loans from major artists and collectors for display in the front hall of the Brauer Building and on the curved wall in the lobby of Haertter Hall. Every six weeks, we have a new artist on display in the Bonsack Gallery, and alumni and student art is on display in the Kuehner Gallery and throughout the halls.
 
It is hard to measure the impact it must have on students to find themselves surrounded daily by such remarkable work, but it is a privilege for me and for my colleagues to see and experience it. We hope that you will join us on April 13 to learn more about what we all get to see every day.