Valerie M. Wright, currently collections manager and registrar at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, has been named registrar for the new Art Museum at West Virginia University. She will join the University Jan. 1.

The museum will be located adjacent to the WVU Creative Arts Center, and will incorporate the former Erickson Alumni Center building and a new addition. The expected opening date is spring 2012.

“We are pleased to welcome Valerie Wright to WVU,” said Joyce Ice, director of the Art Museum. “Her professional experience in a university museum made her an excellent choice from a highly competitive pool of applicants to fill this key position.”

Wright holds a master’s degree in museum studies from Harvard University and also attended the Medieval Studies International Summer School at Cambridge University, England. She has a bachelor’s degree in European history from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

As museum registrar, she will be responsible for cataloging accessions to the WVU Art Collection, managing the collection database system, including related images and maintaining records of the Art Museum’s collection. In addition, she will coordinate shipping, loans and exhibitions for the Art Museum at WVU and inspecting works for conservation and environmental needs and storage.

Before joining the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, in Boston, she held positions at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Harvard University Art Museums.

While at the Rose Art Museum, she helped coordinate many major shows, including “Saints and Sinners,” curated by Laura Hoptman of the New Museum in New York City; “Paper Trail II: Passing Through Clouds,” curated by artist Odili Donald Odita; and “Hans Hofmann: Circa 1950,” curated by Michael Rush, former director of the Rose Art Museum, and Catherine Morris, curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at Brooklyn Museum.

She also coordinated images and rights and reproduction for Rose’s new comprehensive collection catalogue.

Previously, as manager of Registrarial Services at Collector Systems, her responsibilities included assessing and implementing documentation protocols for new cataloging projects for both corporate and private art collections.

SmithGroup Architects of Detroit has completed the conceptual development phase for the new construction of the Art Museum at WVU.

The new museum will present both touring exhibitions and exhibitions drawn from the WVU Art Collection in two galleries totaling approximately 5,400 square feet.

The plans also include a print study area, a spacious lobby, climate-controlled art storage and exhibit work areas.

The new museum will make art more accessible to the public and expand educational opportunities for WVU students, faculty and staff, while serving as a cultural resource for northern West Virginia and the surrounding region.

It will be connected to the former Erickson Alumni Center, which became available when the WVU Alumni Association moved into its new home in the fall of 2008. Designed by noted architect Michael Graves and opened in 1986, the former alumni center is now undergoing renovation, while retaining the original architecture so characteristic of Graves’ style. It will be completed in late spring 2010 and will house the museum’s staff offices, a museum shop and a Great Hall that will host a variety of educational programs.

The current WVU Art Collection of some 2,500 works, has been created through private gifts, alumni donations and purchases. Its scope is international and includes paintings, prints, works on paper, historic and contemporary ceramics, art from West Virginia and the region, as well as works from Asia and Africa.

The collection holds the largest public collection of art by American Modernist Blanche Lazzell.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4841 ext. 3108,