Gallery expected to bless BYU, art community

PROVO, Utah — A pair of LDS art lovers have placed a new jewel on the

Brigham Young University campus.

Church and school officials gathered at the school's Museum of Art Oct. 27 for the opening of the Robert W. and Amy T. Barker Gallery. The gallery, made possible through donations from Brother and Sister Barker, expands the museum's capability to exhibit artwork that can be enjoyed and used by both campus and outside communities.

President Gordon B. Hinckley cut the ribbon to the new gallery and thanked the Barkers for their friendship and contributions. The late Robert W. Barker, a prominent Washington D.C. attorney, his wife, Amy, and their family have encouraged and promoted the arts for many years. Sister Barker, along with several friends and family members, attended the opening.

President Hinckley said his association with Brother Barker stretched back to the days when the prophet served as chairman of Bonneville International. Brother Barker, who served in many Church leadership callings, was Bonneville's legal counsel.

Museum officials are thrilled with their new addition. The Barker Gallery — located on the museum's second level — boasts continuous wall space, accommodates both single and multiple exhibitions and is an ideal spot for artistic objects that are light sensitive. The gallery's inaugural exhibit is a collection of early paintings and drawings from the late LDS artist Minerva Teichert. Sister Teichert's work, which includes familiar paintings of the Savior and narrative Book of Mormon subjects, can be found in temples and church collections throughout the world.

Part of the Teichert exhibit includes pieces of the unusual "Dr. Minnie Howard Mural" that depicts scenes of the Snake River and was painted to run continuously around a room. A Barker donation allowed the museum to purchase, clean and conserve the Teichert mural. Curators say the style Sister Teichert enlisted to paint the mural differs from her later, more familiar work and offers insight into Sister Teichert's early painting days.

Count President Hinckley among Sister Teichert's biggest fans. The prophet said he met the artist on numerous occasions and was impressed by her accessible, personable nature.

"She was not an unapproachable, stiff-necked artist," he said, prompting laughs from the gathering.

President Hinckley added he respected Sister Teichert's tremendous abilities and distinctive style, saying he could recognize her work anywhere in the world.

Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, said the Barker Gallery will occasionally be used to display the works of BYU students. The museum and gallery, he added, will bless the community, BYU students and all others associated with the university.

Sister Barker, a long-time Teichert enthusiast, said great art has the capacity to touch the heart and mind.

"I'm thankful my family could contribute to this wonderful museum," she said.

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