Alumni couple donates glass collection to Lowe

A 3,500-square foot pavilion is being added to the Lowe Art Museum to house a glass collection of approximately 130-pieces donated by an alumni couple.

Construction of this new addition will begin in March 2007, said Brian Dursum, the museum director.

“The preparations [for the exhibit]are the most time consuming,” Dursum said. “They require rearranging of the art pieces, labeling them, putting them into storage, building the new collection’s cabinetry and installing the art.”

The glass collection, donated by Sheldon and Myrna Palley, include contemporary glass the United States and around the world. Among the pieces in the collection are works by artists specializing in glass.

Some sculptures by artists Judi Elliott, Richard Jolley and William Carlson are already out on display in the museum.

Dursum said there has been a growing interest in glass since the 1970s and this reveals a turning point from bronzes, sculptures, and paintings to this new material being used as an art medium.

“[The glass art] is definitely more interesting than a painting,” Damien Dasilva, sophomore, said. “It’s something new and different.”

According to Dursum, glass is defined as a craft and as a functional piece, but not as fine art. He added that part of the mission of the new space is to rethink the definition of glass as an art form.

“A lot of what is recognized as fine art can be considered functional, for example, a painting functions as a wall decoration,” Dursum said. “Just as a painting is considered more than a craft, so should glass.”

Dursum said that museums are slowly broadening the definition of art, and that it will become more fluid in the future.

“When I think about art, glass is not what pops into my head,” said Lindsay Templer, a sophomore who frequently visits the museum. “Exposure to this new pavilion will force me to rethink my definition of fine art.”

In addition to the glass works, the new wing of the museum also house ceramic art, in part to incorporate the new pavilion with the art department’s own ceramics program. Dursum said these student-produced pieces would serve to further supplement the academic mission of the university.

Since the Palleys are well-known for their glass collection, the pavilion will at first be largely filled with glass.

“It is ultimately a good thing for the university and a great thing for the community,” Dursum said. “There aren’t any museums in the state that really have collections of our depth.”

The Palley collection is currently valued at about $2 million. In addition, the couple has donated $1 million towards the construction of the new wing and another $1 million in an endowment to the museum.

Dursum said that new wing will be challenging to the museum because it is understaffed and now needs more people to cover more areas of the building. He also said that exhibits need to be scheduled and art pieces need to be rearranged and put into storage, a process that should take approximately three to four months.

“The museum has been very cautious about what it accepts,” Dursum said. “Since storage is a problem, unless the staff knows it will be exhibited or fits into a collection, it tries not to accept new art pieces.”

The Lowe Art Museum collection holds about 15,000 objects and grows at about a rate of 300 objects per year.

For now, no other additions are planned but the staff hopes future add-ons will address the issues of storage and gallery space, new offices and the growing needs of the university community.

Nicole Alibayof may be contacted at

September 22, 2006


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

UM chatter: • One lesson learned in recent years, as one UM official put it: Don’t get your hopes up ...

The unopened Christmas gift that University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz recently spoke ...

Joseph Yearby declared early for the NFL draft. Gus Edwards transferred to Rutgers. Trayone Gray is ...

The University of Miami is in conversations about playing the University of Alabama to kick off the ...

He’s all grown up. Yet University of Miami defensive end Scott Patchan is only 20. Two reconstructiv ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

Former University of Miami Dean of Students William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr. passed away on August 6 a ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.