The Home of Our NAN Collection
by Patricia Tector
Originally Published Spring 1999
We keep hearing that the NAN Collection is at the Gallery
of Art & Design at North Carolina
State University. What is this place and where is it?
Last things first: North Carolina State University is in Raleigh the
capital of North Carolina. The Gallery of Art & Design (formerly known
as the Visual Arts Center) as a facility was officially opened in 1992 and
is a significant portion of the Talley
Student Center centrally located on the main campus. The galleries on
the second floor only allow a small portion of the permanent collection to
be seen at a time in addition to traveling exhibits. Most of the permanent
collection, which includes the NAN Collection, are in the archives where
they are available for study.
In 1979 the first curator of art for the university was hired and the
goal was to develop a catalog of the works of art which were scattered all
over the campus and plan for a permanent base for current and future
artwork. The content of the art collection was to be determined by the
university curricula: ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, photography,
graphic, products and industrial design. In addition, art should be
collected for study, historical value, significance and design inspiration
not only for the students, faculty and staff of the university but also
for the community and region as befitted a land grant university.
Another significant decision relating to the collections was that they
should include not only exhibition quality material but also material
appropriate for study and research. This decision means the collections
must contain multiple examples of similar objects. Comparison and
contrast, as well as study of single examples, enable students to
understand and appreciate the range of decisions required to design and
produce objects. The inclusion of multiple objects also permits serious
research on the history of objects and their design evolution as
culturally, socially and economically shaped. Faculty and staff have not
only used objects to raise and discuss issues of design and aesthetics but
also to understand and clarify the ways in which objects can embody social
and cultural values, illustrate historical events and exemplify methods of
production and the economic systems associated with them.
The curator and staff of the Gallery of Art & Design are the first
to acknowledge the important association with the National Academy of
Needlearts which greatly enriches the textile collections. In 1994 NAN
selected the Gallery of Art & Design as its national archive.
Masterworks prepared by students for teaching certification, research
papers on the history of embroidery and texts collected by NAN are
deposited at the Gallery of Art & Design and made available to the
members of NAN and others. In addition, the staff is delighted that this
association has brought new donors to the gallery.
Gallery hours are: Wednesday - Friday: noon to 8:00pm; Saturday and
Sunday: 2:00 to 8:00pm; closed Mondays, Tuesdays and university holidays.
It is highly recommended that you call before going, 919-515-3503, for
location and parking info. Call ahead to arrange to see the collection -
the staff is very accommodating. You may also visit
the Gallery of Art & Design on the Internet.
(This info was garnered from "A Brief Guide to the Art, Design
& Decorative Arts Collection of North Carolina State University"
prepared by The Gallery of Art & Design staff, 1997 - 1998.)