UMBC’s legendary Photography Collections are recognized nationally as among the top ten such holdings among U.S. colleges and universities. The collections were begun in 1973 with the acquisition of a portfolio of photographs by Walker Evans, one of the foremost image makers in the history of the medium.
Frames of Reference: Photographic Paths was the first exhibition held in the newly established Fine Arts Gallery in 1989. The exhibit featured the work of nationally-known artists Zeke Berman, George Blakely, Eileen Cowin, John Craig, Robert Cumming, Darryl Curran, Fred Endsley, William Larson, Bart Parker, Victor Schrager, and the Starn Twins, and was curated by Fine Arts Gallery Director David Yager. Running from October 11-November 16, the exhibit explored the question of how photography affects our cultural sensitivity.
The Fine Arts Gallery was later renamed, and in 2003 the Center for Art Design and Visual Culture began operation. Under the direction of Symmes Gardner, the CADVC has continued a tradition of public outreach and programming, along with curation of original exhibitions and publications focused on contemporary visual culture.