Though Bowdoin and Colby are often considered rivals in sports, the recent opening of the new Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion at the Colby College Museum of Art reinvigorates the two museums’ collaboration efforts—both between the institutions and with their student communities.

Colby opened its new art museum to the community on July 14 and to the campus on September 12. The sleek glass building is an addition to the existing four wings of the museum. The pavilion is 26,000 square feet and makes the Colby Museum of Art the largest art museum in Maine.

The new space provides galleries where students and faculty can take a closer look at objects in the collection for specific academic work. The museum also has new visual art studio spaces.

“We’re excited to have the creation of art, the learning about art and the reflection on art all happening in one building,” said Sharon Corwin, director and chief curator of the museum.

To celebrate its opening, the museum has seven exhibitions on display, including over 250 works of American art from the Lunder Collection donated by Peter and Paula Lunder. 

Colby’s pavilion is similar to the Bowdoin Art Museum’s renovation in 2007, which added an entry pavilion and glass wall and updated the interior. 

On the exterior, both museums blend modern architecture with the older styles that exist on the rest of the campuses. On the interior, they both embody similar missions to educate their students and their respective communities.

While both have a well-rounded array of pieces, Colby has a large collection of American and contemporary art, while Bowdoin boasts a significant transhistoric international collection.
These differences in collections facilitate collaboration between the two museums. Colby recently borrowed several pieces from Bowdoin for its Arts and Humanities theme of censorship this year.
According to Anne Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin Museum of Art, the museums are hoping to further expand this collaboration.

“We’re in really close conversation with our colleagues there,” said Goodyear. “We’re imagining perhaps the opportunity of joint teaching, perhaps some distant learning between the two campuses.”

The Bowdoin Museum of Art is an active part in student life on campus, from hosting student nights at the museum to providing a forum for dance performances. Corwin says she would like to see the same happen with Colby’s new space.

“We’re interested in being an intellectual, creative, and social hub on campus, so the students will be able to gather there for events, performances, lectures and poetry readings,” she said.
Anne and Frank Goodyear, her husband and co-director of the Bowdoin Museum of Art, agree that the new Colby pavillion is a testament to the importance of art on campus.

“The new building has a large glass exterior facing wall behind which is this extraordinarily colorful Sol LeWitt wall drawing. You can see it from a great distance, at night it’s all lit up, and what it says is ‘The Art Museum,’” said Frank Goodyear. 

Both museums also serve as academic resources for their visual and art history departments, as well as many interdiscinplinary areas.

“We see over 80 courses a year come in with their professors to study objects in the collections or exhibitions on view for courses ranging from physics to the classics to American studies,” said Corwin. 

Both Colby and Bowdoin offer students opportunities to help behind the scenes at the museums through docent programs and internships. 

“The sky’s the limit in terms of looking at what might be possible and ensuring that Bowdoin is an active participant in the larger intellectual community,” said Anne Goodyear.