News Release

Photo exhibition of never-before-seen works kicks off U of M’s College of Liberal Arts’ 150th anniversary celebration

Photo Gallery

The University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA) kicks off its year-long 150th anniversary celebration with the opening of “On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts,” an exhibition comprised of 60 new, life-size color portraits communicating the importance of the liberal arts in society. The exhibition opens Wednesday, September 12 and is on view through Saturday, December 8, 2018.

Often, the value of the liberal arts is communicated through words rather than through visuals. “On Purpose” expresses the cultural, economic and political effects that the liberal arts has not only locally, but also nationally through photos featuring more than 150 University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“At the College of Liberal Arts, we unravel the difficult challenges facing modern societies, educate imaginative minds who create tomorrow’s industry-shaping ideas and train compassionate graduates who lead healthy dialogues,” said John Coleman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “This exhibit captures that essence of the liberal arts and examines our purpose for not only the last 150 years, but also the next 150 years.”

Photographed by Xavier Tavera, whose work has been shown internationally, the gallery includes portraits representing each of the 31 departments in CLA. The photographs interpret the diversity of CLA disciplines, ideas and individuals who collectively shape the purpose of the liberal arts.

“Every character in this project is an essential part of CLA by contributing their work, research and teaching,” said Tavera. “My hope is that the series will contribute to the recognition of CLA’s 150 years of hard work.”

The gallery is open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on Tuesdays–Saturdays from Wednesday, September 12 through Saturday, December 8, 2018 in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. Admission is free. Gallery visitors are welcome to attend a free artist talk at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 13 with Tavera at the Regis Center for Art.

The exhibition kicks off CLA’s 150th anniversary, which will be honored throughout the year with events and celebrations including the Arts Quarter Festival, an evening filled with visual art, dance, music and theatre showcasing student and faculty talent, on Thursday, October 11 from 6-10 p.m. on the West Bank campus.

More information on CLA's 150th anniversary can be found here.

High-resolution photos are available for download here.


About The University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts
For 150 years, the College of Liberal Arts has played a central and enduring role in shaping lives, for the good of Minnesota and the world. Our research and creative work has led to breakthroughs in understanding human behavior, economic theory, addiction, equality and big data. Faculty and alumni have shaped policies to improve lives and create better economic conditions around the world. They’ve transformed industries and shaped the Twin Cities into a vibrant cultural hub, where theater, dance, music, and art drive the economy and stir our hearts and minds.

Media Contacts

Main Line

University Public Relations