WSU Museum of Art director to retire Oct. 6

By Debby Stinson, Museum of Art/WSU

chris-bruce-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Museum of Art Director Chris Bruce, 69, will retire Oct. 6.

“I came to WSU 13 years ago to do two things,” he said: “Establish a robust museum program and build a beautiful new building that will secure the role of art on this campus for generations to come. Both of these goals are solidly in place.”

Under Bruce’s leadership, the museum has become a contributor to the national and regional arts dialogue. Since 2003, the museum has organized 90 percent of its own exhibitions; five have toured to other museums throughout the United States. The WSU museum has published eight internationally distributed trade books.

The permanent collection has grown in quantity and quality, including major gifts of 175 works by pop art icon Andy Warhol and over 200 works by internationally renowned artist Jim Dine. The museum has created a thriving student intern program and secured funding to build the new $15 million museum building on Terrell Mall, with construction planned to start in November and completion estimated for December 2017.

“Everything is in place for the new facility to represent a new generation of creativity for the museum and for WSU,” Bruce said. “The staff at the museum is poised to do great things and build on the foundation we have created in ways one can only begin to imagine.”

Bruce was trained as an artist, with a master’s degree from San Jose State University. His career has taken him from work as an artist’s assistant in the Bay Area and cofounder of an artist cooperative, to curator of the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery, director of a commercial art gallery in Seattle and founding director of curatorial and collections at Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project. He has written widely about the arts and culture.

“Life in the arts has been something to treasure,” he said. “Hardly did I know, as a graduate student, that I’d travel the world with art and be part of three major building projects in the Northwest.

”I have been extremely fortunate in connecting with people whose reason for being is nothing less than to share forms of inspiration with the world,” he said. “The deep love and commitment to the arts cuts through differences. There’s a reason we identify this field as part of the humanities.”


Debby Stinson, Museum of Art/WSU, 509-335-6282,
Anna-Maria Shannon, Museum of Art/WSU, 509-335-6140,