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Chances are you've seen Marshall M. Fredericks' work and didn't even know it. Over the course of 70 years (1928-1998), Fredericks was commissioned to create enormous lifelike sculptures in public spaces across the country, including The Expanding Universe Fountain in Washington, DC and The Spirit of Detroit. His works were often lighthearted and whimsical, always imbued with a humanist spirit, but never lacking in gravitas. This museum on the Saginaw Valley State University campus is just a sampling of his vast repertoire, including a newly added sculpture garden with botanicals to complement and contrast the sculptures, including Fredericks' Night and Day fountain.
Saginaw Art Museum gathers both contemporary and classic art in a brick-clad Gregorian Revival mansion that itself is a historical treasure. Originally designed in 1903 by Charles Adams Platt as the Ring family home, the building’s exquisite interior includes dark butternut wood paneling and decorative moldings. Filling the rooms is the museum’s permanent collection of paintings, prints, textiles, and sculptures from American, European, and Asian artists; African artifacts and masks; Native American art; and American and Mexican folk art. A library complements the art collection with more than 1,200 books and periodicals discussing art, as well as Leonardo da Vinci's handmade comic book depicting him as a superhero.
A roster of ever-changing current exhibitions includes showcases of forged metal sculptures, contemporary nature paintings, and the recurring Art in the Heart of the City's ART 4 ALL Exhibitions, which showcase works by local Michigan artists. Visitors peruse temporary exhibits in the exhibition wing gallery, an ultramodern glass-covered hall, or teach flowering plants how to spell “Matisse” in a formal outdoors garden.
To continue arts education outside the gallery, staffers organize themed art history and technique classes for all ages, as well as docent-led tours. They also helm the interactive Visionarea, a gallery space where children delve into art-making, science experiments, and the works of famous artists.