February 14, 2020

Tucked into the everyday hustle and bustle of the Memorial Student Center is a peaceful oasis for students, faculty and staff, and the general public, alike. The Texas A&M University Art Galleries, comprised of the Forsyth and Stark Galleries, is an on-campus gem offering tranquility, creativity, learning and inspiration.

Forsyth Galleries

Celebrating 30 years of inspiring visitors with unique art, the Forsyth Galleries serves as home to the Bill ’35 and Irma Runyon Art Collection. The collection contains world-class English Cameo glass, as well as a significant collection of 19th and 20th century American art glass and paintings that includes works by Mary Cassatt, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Frederic Remington. The Runyon’s legacy has grown with gifts from generous donors of art and decorative objects throughout the years.

Free events at the galleries are hosted regularly, ranging from art-inspired date nights to children’s educational art programs. However, University Art Galleries’ Marketing and Communications Specialist, Molly Painter, said the staff stepped up its game last fall to celebrate the momentous 30-year milestone.

“Some of the main events included a field trip to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and a silent disco in Forsyth where guests viewed art and danced while listening to music through headphones,” Painter explained. “The real treat was an immersive opera performance composed by Austin’s Nathan Felix. He composed an original opera based on some of our artwork and hired local musicians to bring the art to life for visitors.

Stark Galleries 

The Stark Galleries, named for J. Wayne Stark ’39, focuses on American paintings, prints, drawings and photographs of the 19th and 20th centuries, with an emphasis on Texas art. The gallery boasts masterpieces from well-known artists like Julian Onderdonk, H.O. “Cowboy” Kelly and Dorothy Hood.

While the Stark Galleries showcases fine art, one of its main missions is to support the educational mission of Texas A&M University by spreading the beauty and power of art across campus. The Stark Galleries oversees the care and maintenance of all Texas A&M public art.

Amanda Cagle, Stark Galleries’ collection manager, oversees the care of 47 pieces of public art on campus, which is a 27% increase since 2017. The oldest sculpture she manages, “Lawrence Sullivan Ross,” was erected in 1919 and has become a tradition for Aggies to visit for good luck during exams. Cagle explained that, like “Sully,” these university monuments are much more than physical structures

“Many of our former students have pursued careers around the world and understand the impact that public art can have both on a campus and in a community,” Cagle said. “Art can educate, inspire and even challenge a viewer to look at the world in different ways. Moreover, the Stark Galleries’ sculpture collection is a wonderful, and easily accessible, visual link to Aggie traditions and history.”

How well-versed are you on Aggie sculptures, traditions and history?

Take our quick 12-question quiz to test your Texas A&M sculpture knowledge and learn something in the process. Good luck and Gig ’em!


powered by Typeform

The University Art Galleries department is currently in need of funding for additional space, increasing art education programming, traveling exhibitions and more. Are you inspired to paint a brighter future for the university’s art program by giving a gift to the Texas A&M University Art Galleries? Contact Reagan Chessher '96 by completing the form below, or give to the Forsyth Galleries or the Stark Galleries online today.