About the Faulconer Gallery

Bucksbaum Center for the Arts and the Faulconer Gallery


The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts (BCA) was built in 1999 to consolidate Grinnell’s art, music, and theatre departments under one roof. The building incorporates two structures, each designed by internationally renowned architects.

The older portion of the center dates from 1961 and was designed by Walter Netsch of the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill firm. This International-style structure was later incorporated into a design by the architectural firm of Cesar Pelli and Associates.

The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has a radial form that houses each branch of the arts in a separate wing. These varied spaces include Sebring-Lewis Hall, music rehearsal rooms, and three stories of studio rooms for ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpting classes. Flanagan Studio Theatre and scene shop are part of the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The building’s beauty is accentuated by the variety and quality of its construction materials, which include patterned golden brick masonry, white painted steel, and variegated strand board panels, all of which are emblematic of Pelli’s architectural style.

Author: Will Schwaller '09

The Faulconer Gallery

Nestled in the heart of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is the Faulconer Gallery, which presents exhibits of regional, national, and international significance. This space has moveable wall panels, allowing the gallery to be arranged in many combinations. The gallery’s interior is illuminated by indirect skylights in the clerestory and additional natural lighting from large windows. The far wall of the gallery curves to embrace the circular form of the building. The gallery serves the educational mission of the college while also giving students and the general public the chance to interact with a diverse range of artistic exhibitions, from easel paintings and installation art to drawings and video.

Author: Will Schwaller '09

The Architect

Cesar Pelli was born in Argentina and earned his Diploma in Architecture from the University of Tucumán in Argentina. Pelli is best known best for his Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (at one time the world’s tallest buildings), the World Finance Center in New York, and the International Finance Center in Hong Kong.

Pelli’s work avoids creating a structure for solely aesthetic purposes. He believes “works of architecture never exist by themselves; they are always part of a larger whole.”  Pelli’s work at Grinnell includes the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts (1999), the Joe Rosenfeld ’25 Center (2006), and the Athletic and Fitness Center (phase I, 2005 and Phase II, 2010), created in conjunction with Sasaki Associates on the north end of campus.

Author: Will Schwaller '09

Statement of Purpose

The Faulconer Gallery promotes learning through artistic excellence and creative collaboration.

Goals and Strategies

Bring outstanding regional, national, and international art to campus.

  • Maintain a mix of contemporary and historical exhibitions in a variety of media, so that our audiences see the art of their own time as well as its sources in the past.
  • Present every exhibition according to professional museum standards.
  • Seek out opportunities for direct collaboration with artists and audiences on and off campus.

Shape and preserve a select permanent collection, primarily of works on paper.

  • Expand the permanent collection with an emphasis on works of social commentary in modern and contemporary art.
  • Develop collections that directly support exhibitions, teaching and research.
  • Increase access to the collection.

Provide a variety of learning opportunities, with art as the primary source.

  • Seek ways to make works in the collection a dynamic part of the learning process.
  • Across the curriculum, facilitate the integration of the gallery and its resources in the classroom and in research.
  • Work with artists, critics, and scholars to create a richer context for exhibitions and collections and to increase understanding of the creative process among all audiences.
  • Increase understanding of museum professions.

Reach out to our audiences and build community through art.

  • Implement creative outreach to students on campus and in area schools.
  • Develop effective promotion and publicity to make our audiences aware of our efforts.
  • Work with our communities on events and programs that increase their appreciation for fine arts.
  • Make use of new technologies to foster connections.

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