Imagine this: You’re in your second semester at Williams, and you check out a Cézanne from the Williams College Museum of Art, the way you might check out Moby Dick from the library. You walk back to your dorm room and choose the perfect spot to hang it. Every day, for the entire semester, you look at it in different frames of mind, in natural light, in the glow from your reading lamp, with friends, and alone. You have the chance to spend time—to really understand—the painting from the comfort of your dorm room. “Much art was meant for ‘long time’ absorption,” says WCMA director Tina Olsen, “not what typically occurs in museums.”

Stop imagining.

“Long time absorption” is exactly what you will have the chance to experience starting next year. WCMA is launching a student art loan initiative as a key component of the Fulkerson Arts Leadership Program, with additional support from alumni who’ve given works of art and financial resources. Allan Fulkerson ’54, founder of the Arts Leadership Program, says its goal is to provide opportunities to help develop the next generation of Williams leaders in the arts. He sees the art loan initiative as one piece of that goal, “reaching and involving many students rather than just a few.” Fenner Milton ’62 agrees. Milton majored in physics at Williams but was deeply affected by the art history courses he took. “The important thing is to expose the non-art major to the concept of living with art,” he says.

Some of the art you could easily live with includes pieces by Cézanne, Jim Dine, Fred Wilson, Winslow Homer, Margaret Bourke-White, Marc Chagall, Alison Saar, Utamaro Kitagawa, and Williams’ own Ed Epping. “We want the art to reflect the diversity of our students, their backgrounds and interests,” says David Sledge, first-year student in Williams’ art history graduate program, curator of the student loan initiative, and member of the program’s selection committee. “We understand that all of our effort will be for naught if the art we select doesn’t engage or challenge the students.”

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