The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is dedicated to furthering the missions of service, research, and teaching of Kansas State University by studying, collecting, preserving, and displaying works of art from the state of Kansas and the surrounding region. The programs and exhibits at the art museum connect the culture, interests, and art of the region with the public of the world at large. Art offers a rich field for discussions across a multitude of disciplines. The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum offers experiences with art that give guests an opportunity to explore the human experience.
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As a celebration of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art’s twentieth anniversary since opening to the public, the art museum has unveiled a new design for the galleries housing its permanent art collection. The theme of the celebration is “You Gotta Have Art,” and has transformed the museum’s galleries to feature artwork across a range of time periods, all displayed together to showcase specific themes, as well as encourage discussions. Visitors can expect to find favorites in the gallery, such as works by Shirley Smith and John Steuart, alongside pieces that have re-emerged from storage after many years on hiatus.
The permanent art collection of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art consists of more than seven thousand works of art that emphasize the artwork of the state of Kansas, as well as the region. The art museum collects works of art across all media from historical works to more contemporary artwork. This permanent collection is the foundation for the many activities offered by the museum, and serves as a basis for the museum to act as a center for the research and study of the region’s visual art. Among the numerous works of art on display at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum are works by contemporary artists of Kansas, including Andrzej Zielinski, Jane Booth, and Roger Shimomura.
In January of 1928, Kansas State University dedicated the now Hale Library, then known as the Farrell Library. The building displayed a temporary art collection consisting of more than one hundred prints and paintings by Birger Sandzén in the library’s art gallery. Sandzén was a Swedish-born art professor and painter that taught art at Bethany College in Kansas. A fundraising campaign was organized in February of the same year to acquire two large oil paintings by Sandzén. These two paintings became the start of the art collection of Kansas State University.
For several decades, the art collection of the university was housed across campus in offices and public spaces. This collection focuses on art from the region, and Kansas in particular. Funds were raised in 1990 to build a museum on campus to house the growing art collection. The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art opened to visitors in 1996, named such because of the lead gift to the university from Ross and Marianna Beach. The collection of the museum has now grown from fewer than 1,500 works of art when it opened back in 1996 to almost 10,000 works today.
701 Beach Lane, Manhattan, Kansas, Phone: 785-532-7718