Students in any WVU department can benefit from art, says museum director. Everyone can.
Since it opened in 2015, the Art Museum of WVU has made a place for itself as a resource to students and the community. But Todd Tubutis, museum director since February 2019, is creating something more. What he hopes you’ll find there now is a space for collaboration and inclusivity
Prior to arriving at WVU, Tubutis served as associate director of the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He’d worked in natural history museums, a rare book library, and a nonprofit photography venue. But his passion lies in academia, and the position at the Art Museum of WVU posed an opportunity for him to get back to his roots.
“I wanted to find my way back into an academic setting and, when I saw this position available, I decided to take a chance. The wonderful thing is, they said ‘Yes.’”
Tubutis grew up near Chicago, and work and research have taken him all over the U.S. and abroad. But the mountains of West Virginia were uncharted territory for him, so he’s spent the past year immersing himself in his new environment. “I’m finding the landscape to be very beautiful, and I’m enjoying exploring Morgantown and the rest of West Virginia,” he says. “Everybody is friendly and has really welcomed me into the campus community.”
Tubutis also noted the enthusiasm he encounters when it comes to advancing the museum’s goals and mission. “Our supporters, many of whom are WVU graduates, are so passionate about the museum succeeding, and the staff here is fantastic,” he says. “Everyone is on board with the vision of finding ways to reach departments all across campus.” He sees the museum as not only a resource for the community at large, but also an integral part of the student experience.
“It’s important for all students of any discipline—from the history department to the law school to health sciences—to see how the museum can be a part of their learning,” he says. “The museum isn’t a rarified space only for special people. It’s for everyone.”
Visitors are invited to take a look at the museum’s rotating exhibitions, browse the nearly 5,000-piece collection, or stroll through the 2.5-acre Nath Sculpture Garden. In addition, the museum hosts a number of events—like Lunchtime Looks, in-depth considerations of individual pieces in the museum that take place on the first Friday of every month during the academic year. “I think we have a real opportunity here to bring contemporary art to Morgantown in a way that serves campus and the community,” says Tubutis. “I hope people come in and take the chance to see what we have.”
Admission is always free. 304.293.2141, artmuseum.wvu.edu
written by Kaylyn Christopher
image courtesy of WVU Photography