The Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. A collaborative initiative of the Colby College Museum of Art located in central Maine, the Lunder Institute invites visiting artists, scholars, and museum professionals to engage across disciplines with Colby faculty and students, the College’s network of institutional partners, leading experts, and other creative collaborators. Through fellowships, workshops, symposia, and incubator grants, the Lunder Institute amplifies marginalized voices, challenges convention, and provides a platform for generative dialogue through art and scholarship.
The Lunder Institute was established in 2017 through the generosity of Peter and Paula Lunder and the Lunder Foundation, longtime benefactors of Colby, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the field of American art. Since the establishment of the Museum in 1959, American art has been a distinguished strength. Over the past decade, its founding collections have been expanded and enriched by two major gifts of art from the Lunder Collection in 2013 and 2017. The Lunder Institute was conceived as a research and creative arm of the Colby Museum, with significant ties to the College and its multidisciplinary curricula. It provides a platform for the Museum to develop scholarly and artistic collaborations and extend its engagement with local, national, and international audiences. Explore the Lunder Collection.
PETER AND PAULA LUNDER
Formerly of Waterville, Maine, art collectors and philanthropists Peter and Paula Lunder are dedicated to transforming lives and communities through art. Peter is former president of Dexter Shoe Company. He graduated from Colby College in 1956, where he currently is a life member on the college’s Board of Visitors and the Colby College Museum of Art Board of Governors. Paula is a life member of the college’s Board of Trustees and is a life member of the museum’s Board of Governors. In 1995 the Lunders pledged the lead gift to build the museum’s Lunder Wing, designed by architect Frederick Fisher. In 2007 they promised their collection of more than 500 works of art to the college, establishing the Lunder Collection. In 2013 the museum opened the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, also designed by Frederick Fisher, to display this major gift. In 2017 Colby announced another gift, this time of 1,150 artworks and endowed funds to establish the Lunder Institute for American Art.
Peter was vice chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s national board and served on the Board of Commissioners at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where they endowed the Lunder Conservation Center and the Lunder Education Curator. They also endowed the Lunder Curator of American Art at the Freer | Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian, and they named a conservation lab inside the Whitney Museum of American Art building designed by Renzo Piano. In 2018 the Lunders established a need-based financial aid fund for undergraduate students from Maine at the Maine College of Art. Peter is on the board of the Harold Alfond Foundation and formerly served on the board of the Terra Foundation for American Art. In addition, the Lunders support the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Public, Thomas College, Maine community colleges, Babson College, as well as Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
(Image at right, 1998 Colby College Honorary Degree recipients. Seated from left: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; Paula Lunder; Peter Lunder. Standing from left: Larry Pugh, Chair of Board of Trustees; Nobel Prize winner and Physics Professor Norman F. Ramsey; Author and English Professor John Edgar Wideman; President William Cotter)
LUNDER INSTITUTE STAFF
Erica Wall is a creative, collaborative, and dynamic educator, curator, and arts leader with extensive community-building experience. Before joining the Lunder Institute, she served as executive director of MCLA Arts and Culture at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Prior experience included founding a gallery that gave emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their work, connected them with curators and patrons long-term, and enabled them to build an artistic community and a framework of support. She has also served as a museum educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Lunder Institute Advisory Council
Bridget R. Cooks, Associate Professor, African American Studies and Art History, University of California, Irvine
John Davis, President and CEO, Historic Deerfield
Frank Goodyear, Co-director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art
David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art, Wake Forest University
Asma Naeem, Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator, Baltimore Museum of Art
Tanya Sheehan, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art, Colby College
Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums
Jacqueline Terrassa, Carolyn Muzzy Director, Colby College Museum of Art