Taylor University officials will dedicate one of the nation’s largest private collections of Western and Native American art this Friday, April 22, during the grand opening of the Boren Art Gallery on Taylor’s campus.
The art gallery will be home to the collection of paintings and sculptures acquired by the late Leland and LaRita Boren of Upland, Indiana, over the course of their lives. The Boren collection consists of more than 500 pieces of art depicting numerous facets of Native American life and the American West.
The Borens gifted the collection to the University prior to their passings; LaRita in 2011 and Leland in 2018.
“I believe many people will be impressed by the overall breadth and quality of the pieces,” Boren Art Gallery Director Dr. Kenton Stiles said. “The Borens’ love for Western art is clearly evident in this collection.”
The collection includes numerous oils and watercolors along with sculptures.
The new Boren Art Gallery is housed in Taylor’s historic Helena Memorial Hall. Since its construction more than 100 years ago, the building has been home to numerous University functions including chapel, music, theatre, and more recently, Admissions and the President’s and Provost’s offices. Taylor University renovated Helena Memorial Hall to serve as the home of the collection, honoring the Borens’ request to create a place where people throughout the country could visit and enjoy their art.
The Boren Art Gallery is located near the Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center, where a museum-quality gallery frequently showcases guest exhibits and student artwork from Taylor’s Art Program.
Located in Upland, IN about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne along I-69, Taylor University’s focused presentation of Western and Native American art becomes one of the very few of its kind in the Midwest. The best has long been held by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, coincidentally located in Indianapolis, 80 miles from the new Boren Art Gallery.
Devotees of Western and Native American should make plans to visit Taylor University on their next trip through the area to support the institution’s expansion and increased attention given these beloved genres of art.