I have determined that our monasteries should not be simply schools for religion and learning but should also serve as custodians of the fine arts and thus foster greater appreciation for culture. + Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B.
When the founder of Saint Vincent, Boniface Wimmer, OSB arrived in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1846, he set out to establish a monastery and school that would be immersed in the arts. Envisioning the arts as having the same status and support as science and religion, Wimmer immediately began to assemble artists, teach students, and collect art. As a result, over the past 160 years, Saint Vincent has acquired more than 4,000 works of art of cultural and historic significance.
For more than 60 years, the College has maintained a public art gallery for the cultural edification of its students and the greater community; featuring both rotating and permanent collection exhibitions with several thousand visitors each year. In addition to traveling exhibitions, the Gallery routinely exhibits the work of its arts faculty as well as of graduating studio art majors.
Saint Vincent is indebted to the tireless contributions of Brother Nathan M. Cochran, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, who served as curator of the Saint Vincent collections for 31 years. In addition to mounting over 60 exhibitions during his tenure as gallery director, Br. Nathan was instrumental in arranging for key works to be conserved, systematizing organization of the collections, and developing both internal and external scholarship on works housed at Saint Vincent. In 2001, under Br. Nathan’s direction, Saint Vincent initiated the Biennial Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Competition and Exhibition – assembling works of art honoring reflective of Christian themes created by contemporary artists working
domestically and internationally. Now in its 20th year, the juried exhibition serves as a critical link between artists and patrons resulting in a renewed interest in sacred art.
On April 23, 2020, Saint Vincent will begin a new chapter its long history of support for the arts with the dedication of a newly expanded exhibition space. Located inside the Dale P. Latimer Library Arts & Technology Center, the Gallery will continue to serve as a creative crossroads, featuring rotating exhibitions culled from its impressive permanent collection while also showcasing the work of emerging artists whose work investigates the issues and questions of our contemporary time. Building on the legacy initiated by Wimmer’s bold vision, Saint Vincent continues its commitment to fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, inquiry, and contemplation.