Press Release

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College Celebrates 30th Anniversary with a Richly Illustrated Catalogue

In honor of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s 30th anniversary and the 160th anniversary of the collection, the Loeb has published Making & Meaning, a richly illustrated 248-page catalogue featuring a diverse array of works from the museum.

This volume, co-published by Hirmer Publishers, reveals the dynamism of the collection as it spans from antiquity to the present day. Making & Meaning comprises 10 essays and 68 entries on paintings, prints, photographs, decorative arts, and sculptures written by 36 contributors including Vassar curators, faculty, community partners, and art historians. Together, their writings demonstrate how the art museum at Vassar originated in 1864 and now stands, like many American academic museums, at the forefront of the rapidly evolving museum field.

At the 1993 opening of the Loeb, renowned art historian Sherman E. Lee remarked, “The university art museum has a responsibility to make future lay citizens aware of art in society, of art in a museum, and of the peculiar problems of those institutions in today’s world.” T. Barton Thurber, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director, added that “This publication is a testament to the value and meaning the Loeb continues to bring to students, faculty, and the community at large, and we could not be more proud.”

On the occasion of the groundbreaking three decades ago, a student publication posed the question, “What will the Loeb Art Center mean for Vassar?” This richly illustrated book considers responses to this question. Through an introductory essay on the history and role of the art museum at Vassar, a related timeline, catalogue entries on individual works of art, and essays focused on thematic groups of objects, this publication explores the Loeb and its predecessor, the Vassar College Art Gallery. The beginnings of the collection date to Vassar’s founding in 1861, making it the first American college or university to include a museum in its original mandate. The depth and dynamism of this art collection, which spans from antiquity to the present day, is evident in the variety of subjects covered by the book’s texts, whose authors include Vassar curators, faculty members, community partners, and art historians who studied at the College. Applying their varied expertise and perspectives to signature works from the Loeb, they critically examine the collection and its formation over time, as well as its relationship to teaching and learning on campus and beyond.

Making & Meaning was edited by Elizabeth Nogrady and Alyx Raz with contributions by: Glenn Adamson, Abdulhamit Arvas, Jennifer Miyuki Babcock, Fía Benitez ’18, Charmaine Branch ’14, Jessica D. Brier, William L. Coleman, Lindsay Shepherd Cook ’10, Ive Covaci, Eve D’Ambra, Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase, Keely Heuer, Susan Hiner, Pilar Jefferson ’15, Michael Joyce, Elizabeth Lastra, Mary-Kay Lombino, Karen Lucic, Ariana Maki, Anna O. Marley ’96, Mia Mask, Molly S. McGlennen, Cora Michael ’96, James Mundy ’74, John P. Murphy, Molly Nesbit ’74, Alexander Noelle ’09, Barbara A. Olsen, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Patricia Phagan, Grace Sparapani ’16, Naoko Takahatake ’99, Julia Wohlforth ’17, and Jin Xu.

The book, supported by the Friends of the Art Center and an anonymous donor, features 208 color illustrations and is available here:

About the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a teaching and learning museum, free and open to all, supporting the College’s educational mission and communities. Formerly the Vassar College Art Gallery, the Loeb is the first art museum at a college or university that was part of the institution’s original plan. Today, the permanent collection includes over 22,000 works, comprised of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, textiles, and glass and ceramic wares. The Loeb strives to be a catalyst for scholarly, creative, and social justice work by Vassar students and others. It aims to reflect a commitment to broaden, and amplify, the voices represented in the museum setting, and to ensure that the Loeb’s programs and practices have a positive impact on campus and beyond.

Commitment to DEAI

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College commits to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) as core values across its culture, systems, and practices. We pledge to allocate resources (human and financial) to create and sustain a museum culture in which difference is celebrated. The Loeb staff is dedicated to integrating DEAI priorities into gallery installations, programming, interpretation, collections management, acquisitions, and internal processes. Our ongoing work is guided by an intention to care for all people engaged with the Loeb while welcoming the exchange of ideas, enriching experiences, and diverse perspectives through art.

Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free and all galleries are wheelchair accessible. The Loeb is now open to the public every day (except Monday) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Loeb is located at 124 Raymond Avenue near the entrance to the Vassar College campus. parking is available on Raymond Avenue. Directions to the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

The Art Center is also accessible via the Dutchess County Public Transit, Bus Route L. For additional information, the public may call (845) 437-5632 or visit

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization. Munsee Lenape peoples continue today as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, the Delaware Tribe and the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma, and the Munsee-Delaware Nation in Ontario. This acknowledgment, however, is insufficient without our reckoning with the reality that every member of the Vassar community since 1861 has benefited from these Native peoples’ displacement, and it is hollow without our efforts to counter the effects of structures that have long enabled—and that still perpetuate—injustice against Indigenous Americans. To that end, we commit to build and sustain relationships with Native communities; to expand opportunities at Vassar for Native students, as well as Native faculty and other employees; and to collaborate with Native nations to know better the Indigenous peoples, past and present, who care for this land.

Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Media Contact: Alison Hendrie,, (914) 450-3340

PHOTO: Download high-resolution images from the Vassar College Media Relations Flickr site 

July 31, 2023
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center