Welcome, from WAM!

We have reached that time of year again – Welcome Week – the week-long series of events that welcomes a fresh crop of new students to another University of Minnesota academic year.  Over the course of the next few days, thousands of students will be moving into their dormitories. Parents and friends will be helping these students haul all sorts of personal items – televisions, video game systems, laundry baskets, etc. – to make their cramped quarters a habitable place to live and study for the forthcoming school year.  As students set up their bunks, make their beds with their new sheets and comforter plucked from an end cap at Target, and fill their closets with a cache of new wardrobe items selected to exude a new “college life” style, they may step back, take a look at their new home, and notice something missing from the glaringly bare white walls that stare back at them.

To remedy this interior decoration situation, students may stumble across the poster sale conveniently set up in Coffman Union (Welcome Week central).  But if students venture just a few paces more, to the crazy looking building next door, they will find over 300 original framed works of art which they can rent for the semester to adorn their dormitory walls.

The Weisman Art Museum’s (WAM) Art Rental program is conducted through the WAM Shop.  Come in to the Shop any time during regular hours and head to the back, where you will find the racks that contain the artworks available for rent.  Questions?  Just ask the friendly Shop staff, or contact Art Rental Coordinator Erin Bouchard at

3 people looking at a painting
Museum Curator Betty Maurstad and other students view artworks available for rent in the student loan collection. Image courtesy of the University Archives.

Curious as to why such a service is available to University students?  WAM also has an exhibit for that!  After you select your original artwork, and rush back to your dorm to hang it, stop back in to the museum at any point over the course of the new school year – admission is always free.  The exhibit The WAM Files: The Art of the Archives explains the history behind the art rental program, and the history behind the museum!

These first few weeks will be busy - preparing for your studies, trying all sorts of topping variations for your frozen yogurt, and filling your social calendar - but be sure to bring all of your new-found friends to the museum on September 7th to attend WAM-O-RAMA – a free concert for students!  Get a tour of the current exhibits, take silly photos in a photo booth, enjoy the sounds of three bands, and nibble on some complimentary refreshments!

In the meantime, enjoy these old photos promoting the art rental program that were shared with the Collective by the curators of the WAM Files exhibit.  All images are courtesy of the University Archives.

This could be you!

2 people around several paintings
Curator Betty Maurstad shows a picture from the student loan collection to a student interested in renting artwork. In the 1930s when the program first started, works could be rented for 25 cents. Image courtesy of the University Archives.

Faculty can rent too!

A family of 3 looking at a painting
A University of Minnesota faculty member hangs his rented piece of art at home as his family observes. Image courtesy of the University Archives.