FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For a century, patrons have supported local, national and internationally renown artists at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
To honor this milestone, the museum is showcasing nearly 8,000 pieces of its permanent collection, going decade by decade. Through May 16, visitors can take in works from the 1950s.
“It’s been fascinating to watch people interact with these things because folks would say, ‘Oh my word, I never knew you had a Whistler, I never knew you had these Picasso’s, I never knew you had this Careau’,” said Charles Shepard, the museum’s president and CEO.
The museum has had to overcome many challenges to stay afoot over the years. One of the toughest challenges came a decade after opening in 1921 with the Great Depression. At the time, the museum shared space with the city’s art school and operated on a much smaller scale. Shepard believes it was because of this smaller operation that the museum was able to last beyond the Depression.
“Our progress might have been a little slower once the money came back to the country, but the fact of the matter is we were always steadily growing, steadily building an audience,” said Shepard.
Coming out of the Depression, the museum grew a dedicated, eventually moving to its current home on East Main Street in 1984.
Along with its collection, museum staff are proud of the ways they have helped over the years. Shepard touts the museum’s ability to offer free consultations to those who wish to take the next step in their career.
Looking ahead, Shepard is always looking to find more ways to feature the museum’s growing collection.
“We’re really ready to grow more, and by that I mean physically grow more,” Shepard said. “I think you’re going to see some work on this site and a new building starting to be formed very soon.”
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s “Century of Making Meaning” collection is on display now through March 2022.