In 1971, four years after the Union officially opened its doors, the campus community began pushing for artwork to be displayed in the Union. Charles Campbell, then Dean of Administration, shared this desire. He soon decided to add artwork to the Georgian Room and hang photographs of campus throughout the building. In fact, the original molding in the Activities Room was specifically installed so art exhibitions could be held there.
Four years later, in September 1975, Professor William Unger was commissioned to paint a mural in the third-floor hallway to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial. This mural was to be inspired by the artistic style of Thomas Hart Benton and modeled off Benton’s “A Social History of the State of Missouri” painting found in the Missouri State Capitol Building.
In 1995, then building Director Vonnie Nicholas partnered with John Bahac, a member of the Fine Arts faculty, to update the art found in the Union. They created the “Art in the Union Program”, which worked with the Juried Student Art Exhibition to purchase five new pieces of art each year.
The Union continues the community’s original intention of displaying art. Now, two new pieces of art are purchased for the Union’s collection each year. These new acquisitions are prominently displayed in the Union HUB for an academic year. When the academic year is complete, the pieces are moved to other locations in the building.
Gallery of existing work shown at the Union