The James and Kathy Pardew collection will be presented at the Bradbury Art Museum

The James and Kathy Pardew collection will be presented at the Bradbury Art Museum


mountain landscape by Kalina Taseva, 2005, oil on canvas. James and Kathy Pardew Collection, Bradbury Art Museum.

JONESBORO – “Pardew Collection: Exploring Patronage, Process, and Place” will open at the Bradbury Art Museum (BAM) at Arkansas State University on Thursday, April 21, with an opening reception from 5-6:30 p.m. Admission to the reception and exhibit, which continues through July 21, is free.

James and Kathy Pardew’s gift encompasses a wide range of international and American artwork acquired during their lifetimes in American military and diplomatic service. Modern art from Bulgaria, where James served as US Ambassador from 2002 to 2005, is a central part of the collection.

In addition, the collection includes works of art from Central Europe, Asia and the Islamic countries where they lived, traveled and served. The art showcases cultures and a range of styles from abstract to figurative. The collection also represents a diversity of gender and ethnicity of artists.

The Bradbury Art Museum has partnered with A-State’s Museum Studies Program to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to contribute to the development of the exhibit. Through a series of dialogues with the students, they developed the thematic elements of patronage, process and place. Pardew has cultivated a lasting relationship with many artists in the collection and has actively used the arts as a means of building community and relationships as an ambassador.

These elements persist throughout the exhibition, but the spaces are divided into different categories. The Stella Boyle Smith Gallery is devoted to an overview of the scope of the collection. Windgate Gallery houses artwork from relationships forged during the Pardews’ time in Bulgaria. Kays Gallery is dedicated to recreating the Pardew home environment. Finally, Pardew Gallery focuses on iconography.

“This gift and exhibit is a fantastic example of the importance of humanities education for students of all disciplines,” noted Garry Holstein, director of the Bradbury Art Museum. “The Pardews cultivated a love of the arts at A-State and it had a direct impact on the lives of artists around the world for many years. In communication with the museum prior to his passing, Mr. Pardew expressed the hopes that his gift will expand the global arts and cultural experience for students, artists, and residents of the A-State area in the future.

Dr. Katherine Baker, assistant professor of art history, highlighted the value of the learning experiences the Pardews have created for students.

“As the exhibition shows, James Pardew found a calling as a patron of the arts. However, it was not a hobby solely based on aesthetics, but rooted in a deep understanding of the cultural significance of art. His support for the arts went beyond mere acquisition and he forged intimate bonds with many artists, supporting them both personally and professionally,” Baker explained. “I hope every student and community member who sees this exhibit understands what James Pardew understood – that the world grows exponentially when we invite art into our lives.

“For my course in museum studies this spring, it was a lesson definitely learned. A group of students from many degrees and disciplines came together to study the works in this exhibition, examining the lives of the artists, the contexts from which they came, and the connection Pardew had with the objects,” he said. she continued. “From this direct engagement, each student produced wall texts presented in the exhibition. Hands-on experience like this is valuable, and the university is fortunate to have access to this gift, from one Red Wolf generation to the next.

BAM is located at the Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Dr. Hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Additional exhibit details are available online at and at (870) 972-3687.

Christopher S. Washington