The University of Colorado Art Museum (CUAM) provides a forum for exchanging ideas, inspiring collaboration and fueling imagination through art.

CUAM’s collection was founded in 1939 as a teaching resource and has since grown into a collection of more than 8,500 works of art dating from prehistory to the present day. Our exhibitions and collection represent a global perspective and are catalysts for scholarly and creative research at the university. We welcome students, faculty, scholars and the public to free programs at the museum and around the campus. 

Our 25,000-square-foot-museum opened in 2010 and houses our collection on site. In our galleries, collection study center and education room, we present enriching exhibitions and programming, showcase student and faculty research and creative works, and host visiting artists and scholars.

We operate with a staff of 9.5 full-time employees, two graduate assistants, and between eight and 10 work-study student museum attendants.

About our collection

Our collection features works from diverse aesthetic and cultural origins encompassing more than 10,000 years of human history. Our growing collection of more than 8,500 objects represents the wide range of materials used in the creation of art. In keeping with the Open Access initiative at the University of Colorado, we're beginning to offer high-resolution images of our collection for download through our online collection portal.

We are also proud to highlight our Collection Study Center, where we facilitate the study and research of our permanent collection by faculty, students and scholars. The study center is a fully wired “smart classroom” and can accommodate classes up to 25 students. It’s also available by appointment for individual research by students and scholars.

Highlights of our collection include:

Ancient and Classical

Ancient Greek vase. Our Ancient and Classical Collection provides an overview of the ancient Mediterranean world and offers many opportunities for cross-cultural study. Works from ancient Greece and Rome as well as Asia and Egypt provide insight into past civilizations. Many of these objects are regularly viewed in our semipermanent exhibitions and accessed through our collection study center by academic courses in the departments of Classics and Art History.

American landscape painting

Painting of a log jam. Paintings in our collection show the development of the landscape tradition from the late 1800s to today, through works by Charles Partridge Adams, Eve Drewlowe, Marsden Hartley, George Inness and Gwendolyn Meux. Notably, our Marsden Hartley painting pictured at left, Log Jam (Backwaters Up Millinocket Way No. 3), 1939–40, was lent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for its exhibition Marsden Hartley’s Maine, on view March 15–June 18, 2017, at the Met Breuer and the Colby College Museum of Art July 8–November 12, 2017.

Ceramic works, from ancient to contemporary

Ceramic dog. In 2012, Warren and Shirley King generously gifted the King Collection, which contains Asian vessels dating as far back as Neolithic China. This gift vastly expanded our holdings of ancient and ceramic objects, and enhances opportunities for research and study. The collection also has works by significant contemporary ceramicists including: Scott Chamberlain, Kim Dickey, Andrea and John Gill, Jeanne Quinn, Annabeth Rosen, Peter Voulkos, and Betty Woodman.

In 2018 we are working on a revised collection plan, which expresses a renewed emphasis on strengthening our collection of works by Colorado artists. 

About our exhibitions

A performance art exhibition of a person defining what home means. Our exhibitions represent the robust nature of art making. We regularly organize exhibitions that feature objects from our collection along with exhibitions of contemporary artist installations. A highlight of our ongoing exhibition schedule is our biannual artist-in-residence program, in its second iteration in 2017–18.

We showcase student work in the Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition each semester. In addition, we foster student-researched and -curated exhibitions.

About our staff

Jessica Brunecky (MS, U. of Colorado, 2010: Director Visitor Experience) Research interests include audience assessment, trends in cultural participation and museums as media.

Pedro Caceres (MFA, U. of California Santa Barbara, 1998: Exhibition Preparator) Interests include the use and function of hand tools, and workshop mathematics.

Sandra Q. Firmin (MA, Bard College, 2002: Director and Chief Curator) Research interests include performance art, institutional critique and histories, and innovative practices in academic museums.

Stephen Martonis (MFA, West Virginia University, 1999: Exhibition Manager) Research interests include sound art, site-specific installations, video art and performance.

Maggie Mazzullo (MA, Syracuse University, 1994: Collections Manager and Registrar) Research interests include collections management best practices and airships.

Traci McDonald (BA, U. of Georgia, 2008: Visitor Experience Liaison) Interests include accessibility programs and visitor evaluation.

Hope Saska (PhD, Brown University, 2009: Curator of Collections and Exhibitions) Research interests include 18th-century graphic satire and caricature, history of prints and print culture, and digital humanities.