Sean O’Harrow, executive director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, will present the Dan and Betsy Brown Lecture at WVU Wednesday, Aug. 26, as part of the activities celebrating the opening of the new Art Museum of WVU. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. O’Harrow will discuss “What Does an Art Museum Have to do with University Education?” at 5 p.m. in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall (Room 200A) of the Creative Arts Center.

According to O’Harrow, his talk will focus on how 21st century universities benefit from having visual arts education on campus, and how institutions such as art museums fulfill unique roles in student education in order to prepare them for today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges.

“In a world saturated with images, both static and moving, learning how to read, analyze and understand such popular forms of visual communication is crucial in today’s world,” O’Harrow said.

Originally from Honolulu, O’Harrow has been the director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art since 2010 and a board director of the Iowa Arts Council since 2011. Prior to that, he headed the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, for three and a half years. He also teaches art history at the University of Iowa and taught in museum management at Western Illinois University.

His curatorial and organizational accomplishments include the 2008 U.S. premiere of Henry Moore’s textile art “Mother and Child: Henry Moore’s West Dean Tapestries,” the exhibition of 19th century French art for the 2012 Iowa presidential election season entitled “Napoleon and the Art of Propaganda,” and the Pollock Mural conservation project with the Getty Museum and Getty Conservation Institute.

O’Harrow received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his doctorate from Cambridge, both in history of art.

The Dan and Betsy Brown Lecture Series was endowed in 2002 by a substantial contribution from Daniel and Elizabeth “Betsy” Dougherty Brown. Dan Brown is a 1959 graduate of the College of Business and Economics and Betsy Brown is a 1959 graduate of the Davis School of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences. The Browns’ generous support of WVU has included establishing The Brown Family Faculty Development Fund, as well as a guest room at Blaney House, the WVU Marching Band’s state-of-the-art rehearsal tower and photography and computer-assisted design labs at the Creative Arts Center.

The Sean O’Harrow lecture is one of two free public lectures scheduled to coincide with the new Art Museum of WVU’s opening week of events, scheduled for August 25-29, in Morgantown.

The second lecture will be the annual J. Bernard Schultz Lecture in Art History, to be held Thursday, Aug. 27. Professor of Art History Roger J. Crum of the University of Dayton will discuss, “Renaissance Florence as Prequel to the Art Museum of WVU,” at 5 p.m., also in Bloch Learning and Performance Hall of the Creative Arts Center. The lecture will focus on how the modern institution of the art museum has many roots in Renaissance Florence.

For more information about the opening of the Art Museum of WVU in August, and to see the entire schedule of events, visit the website at:



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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