Herter Gallery is the oldest exhibition space on the UMass campus. Its primary purpose is to arrange for the display and study of works of art consonant with the educational mission of the university’s Art Department. It is a mission predicated on the belief that the awareness, appreciation, and understanding of works of art are essential elements of a liberal arts education. The principal aim of the Gallery’s exhibition program, is to explore and encourage experimental approaches in the presentation of contemporary visual art, particularly those approaches that reflect the Gallery’s commitment to the multi-disciplinary study of art and culture. Exhibitions presented by the Gallery’s staff will focus on a broad range of work created by both established and emerging artists, as well as regularly scheduled exhibitions by students and faculty from within the Art Department.
Beyond these rather general parameters, there is a recognition by Herter Art Gallery of the expanded definition of the gallery’s role as a major cultural resource, making art, ideas, and the social context they represent, accessible to a diverse constituency. Increasingly, a growing number of disciplines within the humanities have come to recognize that the visual arts have a unique capacity to create shared experiences, with galleries becoming in the process, powerful transmitters of ideas and shapers of values in society. Exhibition facilities such as Herter, can therefore become ideal places for achieving this, by facilitating an encounter between viewer and objects that may, hopefully, correspond to some aspect of their lives, and touch them in new and unexpected ways. it is the mission of Herter Art Gallery to establish a forum betwen the humanities and sciences for the discussion of important issues in that can contribute to the intellectual life of the university, and the larger community which it serves.