WSU Museum of Art creates new endowment


PULLMAN, Wash. – A new endowment created by the Washington State University Museum of Art will allow it to better care for the university’s permanent art collection and acquire new pieces to add to it.

The Holland/Orton Endowment is named after former WSU President Ernest O. Holland, who in the 1930s put together a collection of 45 paintings in addition to 48 more he purchased with funds provided by donor Charles W. Orton.

“President Holland and Mr. Orton took the very first steps to create a robust museum program to provide students, faculty, staff and members of the public with access to meaningful encounters with art,” said museum director Chris Bruce. “This endowment absolutely supports their goals by allowing us to grow and care for the entire collection in perpetuity.”

Bruce said distributions from the $1 million endowment will be used to assure the archival condition of every item in the permanent collection, a prerequisite for its continued accessibility to the public. The endowment will also be used to add new works to the collection.

The endowment was created with proceeds from the sale of two 1930s-era paintings from the permanent collection by Taos, N.M., genre painter Walter Ufer at a Bonhams auction held April 28. Bruce said the paintings are considered regional works reflecting New Mexico culture and geography and did not fit with the WSU museum’s strong and growing focus on art of the modern world.

He noted that the museum went through a thorough “deaccessioning” – the process used by museums to remove works from permanent collections – that honored the guidelines of the American Association of Museums. The deaccessioning and sale were vetted by the state attorney general’s office, WSU leadership, two museum advisory committees and the board of the Washington Art Consortium.



Debby Stinson, WSU Museum of Art, 509-335-6282,

Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, 509-335-8055,