There is rarely a time when darkness falls onto the Whitworth University Lied Art Center. With clerestory glass windows and a vaulted roofline, light is constantly filtering into the building and onto the artwork. The location of the building allows an abundance of natural northern light in through the windows. The building even incorporated glass from the Whitworth glass program into the window designs. The Lied Art Building’s use of natural light is just one of the qualities that attracts students and artists from across the nation.
Not only is the Lied Art Building a place for the creation of art, but it is also filled to the brim with student and faculty artwork from past and present years. On occasion, there are also traveling exhibits that fill up the space in the Bryan Oliver Gallery. The artwork displayed across the walls and in display cases throughout the building emits a warm and friendly atmosphere, inviting students to express themselves however they please. The exhibition of artwork also provides a spark of inspiration for the students who have the privilege of viewing the pieces.
The Ernest F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts construction began on January 3rd, 2007, and was opened for classes beginning in fall 2008. The facility was dedicated on October 4, 2008, and was funded by a substantial gift from the Lied Foundation. The Lied Foundation was funded by Ernest F. Lied through his significant and successful business career. Bryan Putnam, a Whitworth ’09 graduate, stated that “… the shift from working in a half-buried bunker to an amazing facility facing a beautiful pine forest cannot be understated.” The new building had begun to raise the bar, for students and faculty alike. It seemed as if inspiration seeped through the bricks from which the building had been shaped.
The Bryan Oliver Gallery is dedicated in memory of Bryan Edward Oliver, the son of Walter Oliver ‘67, a Whitworth University Trustee, and Shirley Oliver ‘77. This gallery hosts multiple exhibits per year. It gives students, faculty, and the community a chance to view collections of art that they might not have been exposed to otherwise. These exhibits provide sources of inspiration and motivation, as well as the opportunity to discover something new. One of the exhibits displayed between September and October of 2016, Between the Shadow & the Light, presented the artwork that was produced through a visual arts studio in South Africa. The benefits of hosting a traveling exhibit in the Bryan Oliver Gallery are numerous and they continue to supply endless opportunities for inspiration and creativity. .