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Saturday Art: Where Are the Art Museums in Your State?

Spirit of Detroit by Marshall M. Fredericks, Detroit Mich. (photo: GollyGForce via Flickr)

Across the U.S. every state has art museums. Many are so well-known that a mere word or acronym is immediately recognized by other Americans, like MOMA or the Getty.

There are other art museums which are important if not as well-known to the rest of the country, by virtue of their offerings to the constituents in their states as well as their ability to preserve works and to attract exhibits. Living in Michigan, one can’t help but think of the Detroit Institute of Art. It’s not an exceptionally large museum, but it is the second largest municipally-owned museum in the country and the home of some fine and unique collections that are readily accessible to a majority of Michigan’s population within a three-hour drive. The DIA is too far away for me to visit with frequency, but it has attracted exhibits which were worth the trip. One which still stands out in my mind is the “Van Gogh: Face to Face” exhibit which toured the U.S. in 2000.

Several of the universities here have art museums as well, like the University of Michigan Museum of Art and Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University. Museums like these two often appear at schools featuring fine arts and history degree programs.

But there are hidden gems that residents and non-residents alike may know little about. A key example: the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is located at one of the smaller state universities in Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University. The facility originated as a gallery for Fredericks’ works while he was still alive, and has since become a repository for his tools, drawings and photographs used by the artist as he sculpted. Many Michiganders recognize at least one or two of his works — the Spirit of Detroit and the Cross in the Woods shrine are best known here — although Fredericks was recognized internationally. If you’re ever heading northward along I-75, be sure to stop off at SVSU and visit this museum.

And now what about your state: what are the biggest and best-known art museums in your state, and what are the hidden gems the rest of us should know about?

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Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, FDL community member since 2005, geek since birth.

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