Church News and Events

BYU Unveils New “Shaping America” Art Exhibit

Contributed By By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer.

  • 2 May 2013

Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art unveiled its newest exhibition, Shaping America, which will be on display for five years and is designed to showcase the dynamic shaping of America throughout its rich history.  Photo by Jason Swenson.


Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art has a long-established reputation as a champion of global art. Recent exhibits at the museum have showcased artwork from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and several corners of the world in-between.

But at its heart, the museum has always been synonymous with American art. Its vast permanent collection is replete with works from many of the heavyweights of the American art community. Its newest exhibition, Shaping America, once again demonstrates the school’s commitment to showcasing the best offered by artists who call the United States home.

Curators hope Shaping America will showcase the dynamic shaping of a nation throughout its rich, yet relatively short history. It will be on display for five years and is designed to illustrate “how America is shaped by outside and inside influences over a period of 250 years,” according to the museum.

Marian Wardle, the museum’s curator of American art, said in a museum release that America’s identity is constantly in flux. “America does not have a fixed and unchanging identity,” said Sister Wardle, “but rather one in which a rich cultural mix is continually evolving.”

Shaping America looks at how the visual culture of the United States has been formed not only by European artistic traditions, but also through the influence of Native American, African American, and Latino communities. Pieces in the exhibition include furniture, paintings, sculpture, and other media that demonstrate the diversity of American artwork.

“From its inception to our present time, America has embraced and absorbed a variety of people and traditions across the globe,” said exhibit educator Lynda Palmer in the release. “What is especially compelling about our new Shaping America exhibition is its ability to convey, through art, the myriad cultural influences that have formed our great nation.”

Like many past exhibits at the museum, Shaping America invites interaction with visitors and groups. Patrons of all ages can enjoy the educational kiosks on hand throughout the exhibit and even respond to specific pieces of art through their own Twitter feeds.

Shaping America is open free of charge. The BYU Museum of Art is located on the north side of the Church-owned school. Additional information can be found online at or by calling (801) 422-8287.