The 1960s were a decade of active acquisition of regional art for the University of Victoria’s growing permanent collection. The university placed a strong emphasis on its role as an art patron in teaching, documenting, and promoting regional art.
The University Collection and subsequent Art Collection Committee were established in 1964 under former UVic President Dr. Harry Hickman. Members of this committee included History in Art Professor Anthony (Tony) Emery, artist Donald Harvey and writer Robin Skelton. They advocated for the collection to focus on contemporary BC artists. Prints and paintings by Flemming Jorgensen, Patricia Martin Bates and others in this exhibition were actively collected with a purchase fund established by the committee. Benefactors comprised of collectors and artists alike also contributed to the collections by donating material spanning the careers of local artists.
These acquisition efforts paralleled public art commissions by planners and architects who wanted to ‘localize’ the design concept for Gordon Head campus. Monumental works by Henry Hunt (The Raven Soaring and Eagle on the Decayed Pole, 1963), Elza Mayhew (Coast Spirit, 1968), Margaret Peterson (Source of Sources, 1964), Herbert Siebner (Man and His Universe, 1964), and William “Bill” West (Mobile, 1965) – are examples of modern art by resident artists that are now iconic landmarks.
Links of interest: University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries