The Gallery

The gallery’s high ceilings, flexible lighting grid and nearly 3,500 square-feet of display and work space will provide incredible new opportunities for artists and patrons alike. The additional space will provide the perfect setting for special exhibitions that were never before possible. This gallery also includes work space for an artist-in-residence and the flexibility to showcase multiple exhibitions at once. 

Current Exhibit

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Opening August 23, 2018

In 1903, State Normal School of Emporia (currently Emporia State University) opened this institution as the Auxiliary Manual Training Normal School. Auxiliary, was dropped from the name in 1913 as the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded. Enrollments soared as the economy in the region was booming and in 1923, the college became known as the Kansas State Teachers College of Pittsburg. At this time, the University was home to six of the state’s most modern academic buildings, diverse academic programs, and outstanding educational and administrative leadership. By 1940, graduate degrees in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, English, Education, Industrial Education, Mathematics, Psychology and Philosophy, and Social Sciences were offered. To signify six decades of growth, the institution changed the name to Kansas State College of Pittsburg in 1959. Accompanying this change was the addition of an Arts and Sciences curriculum, alongside expanding the professional programs within the business, education, and industrial arts departments. Finally, in 1977 the name was changed a final time to Pittsburg State University. 

Over the past 115 years, this institution grew and transformed into the University we see today. The legacy of the University has been preserved with the help of the University Archives and Special Collections staff. Starting in Porter Library and then transitioning into a new building, the Leonard H. Axe Library, the history of Pittsburg State University has been preserved. From the opening in 1903, to the fire of 1914 and even Apple Day events, the community and the college have collected items documenting the accomplishments of the University and the people that have helped along the way.

Along with historical documents, a collection of fine art has been acquired by the University and preserved within the Archives/Special Collections in Axe Library. This eclectic compilation of works done by an array of artists calls the University Archives home. Although some of the art has been acquired by the University itself in the late 1960’s, many of the pieces displayed were created by alumni of the University, local artists, or purchased by individuals and donated. The support of the community is the reason this collection has been able to thrive and grow to be what it is today. The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, along with the Leonard H. Axe Library University Archives, are pleased to display some of the artwork from their collection for the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 academic year. The pieces displayed include reproductions by world renowned artist’s and original pieces by local artists, previous Pittsburg State University professors and alumni. Collectively, these works represent the commitment of those dedicated to preserving the history of this University and ensuring the art history will not be forgotten.


Shawna Witherspoon
   Bicknell Family Center for the Arts Gallery Assistant

Randy  Roberts
   Axe Library Dean/Professor

Steve Cox
   Curator of Special Collections/Archivist/Associate Professor

Janette Mauk
    Senior Administrative Specialist

Joseph Firman
    Bicknell Family Center for the Arts Director

Alex Wiedemann
    Bicknell Family Center for the Arts Event Manager