A student shows off an artwork that they're borrowing from the WALLS program.

It’s one thing to encounter a Paul Cézanne etching or a photograph by Margaret Bourke-White on the gallery wall of a museum. It’s quite another to have the original artwork hanging in your dorm room.

That’s been the experience of more than 1,200 students who have participated in the Williams College Museum of Art’s (WCMA) innovative WALLS program. Now in its 10th year, WALLS, which stands for Williams Art Loan for Living Spaces, is a collection of artworks that students can borrow for the semester. In addition to background on the work and the artist, they also receive a journal to share with the museum and future borrowers their own impressions of living with the piece.


HIGHLIGHTS OF WALLS’ FIRST DECADE:

1,257 students have borrowed artworks, some multiple times

90 works initially available; 125 works currently available

1518 date of the oldest work, Saint Sebald in a Niche by Albrecht Dürer

2015 date of the newest works, Sky by Claire Sherman and Game Changing (Queen) by Derrick Adams

34″x44″ size of largest work: Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

6.5″x 6.5″ size of smallest work: Char. Chan’s Geta 13 by Junio Kaneko


TOP 5 PICKS

La création (The Creation) by Marc Chagall

Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

Ellida I by Ulf Nilsen

Inferno Metafisico (Metaphysical Hell) by Giorgio de Chirico

Grand Canyon of Arizona from Hermit Rim Road by Thomas Moran


WALLS is supported by the Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts, with additional funding provided by Fenner Milton ’62. Facts and figures courtesy of WCMA

Photo, at top: The artwork Glacial Termination, from the series Glacial Rebound by Daniel Kukla, is selected by a student during WALLS pickup in spring 2023. Photograph by Bradley Wakoff