The Premier Teaching Art Museum in Arkansas
Christian H. Cutler is director of the Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College. The Windgate Museum of Art is housed in the Miller Creative Quad, which opened in 2019. The museum serves as a pedagogical resource for Hendrix College and is free and open to the public.
Cutler brings more than 23 years of combined private art gallery, museum, and university gallery experience from behind-the-scenes preparations for show openings, juried exhibitions, visiting artists, and fundraising, to managing overall operations of gallery exhibition programming, education, and design. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
What is the mission of the Windgate Museum of Art? What does it do best?
The Windgate Museum of Art (WMA) at Hendrix College strives to be the premier teaching art museum in Arkansas. The museum uses hands-on experiences to train students in all facets of museum work, including curatorial research, collection management, educational and social programming, marketing and communications, as well as all aspects of exhibition research, planning, installation, and evaluation. Providing a diverse lineup of art exhibitions, notable speakers, concerts, films, and educational programs for Conway and the Hendrix campus community is what we do best.
What would most people be surprised to discover about the WMA?
I think people would be surprised to discover that Conway has a dynamic museum in its community featuring world-class, fine art and cultural exhibitions and educational experiences that is free and open to all.
WMA is a beautiful facility. What role does the building and physical space play in the exhibits?
When I visit a space, whose purpose is to celebrate art and creativity, I think the setting is an important part of the experience. When I first visited the Windgate Museum of Art in Hendrix’s Miller Creative Quad as a candidate for the director position, I was impressed to say the least. I knew from the architectural design of the building that the exhibitions inside the WMA would be memorable. Hendrix intentionally broke the collegiate gothic style mold of college building design when they built the WMA. This building celebrates what’s inside.
What do you most want people to think of or remember about WMA? What would you like to see in WMA’s future?
After visiting the WMA, I want people to leave with new knowledge and stunning visual memories that will inspire them to learn and create. I hope that our exhibitions and events are meaningful and memorable; that may spark conversations with friends and family or on social media, which will create return visitors and new patrons. Since our exhibitions change every few months, there is always something new to see or experience. The museum is new to Conway and Central Arkansas, so we have a lot to share with the region. The stories we tell via our fine art and cultural exhibitions are only becoming more thoughtful, engaging, inclusive, and exciting in the future.
How should people stay attuned to exhibits/programming/etc?
Our unofficial moto at the Windgate Museum of Art is “free and open to all.” By following us on social media and joining our email and physical mailing lists, patrons will be the first to know what’s coming up and happening here! @WMAatHDX @windgatemuseum