Schneider Museum of Art
The museum is a result of a community campaign which was completed by a generous donation by Bill and Florence Schneider. In 1980 the Southern Oregon State College (now known as Southern Oregon University) development program, formulated by the SOSC Foundation, initiated the idea and the goal to establish an art museum and gallery on the SOSC campus. They felt it was time to bring a strong presence of the visual arts to the valley to complement the theatre and music programs that were already in existence. With support from the college the Foundation began the process to implement that program and formed the art museum committee.
In 1982 the State Board of Higher Education authorized construction of a museum on campus, with funding to be provided by private donations. During this time benefits and fundraisers were held to raise money for the museum. In 1983 the Schneiders announced their major gift to the museum ensuring its completion. The State Board approved the naming of the museum for Samuel and May Schneider, parents of Bill Schneider, on July 22, 1983. The Museum was designed by the late Will Martin, who was a Portland architect. Will Martinís architectural style was dedicated to the idea that man-made things should complement nature, even emulate it, but never compete with it. The museum opened its doors to the public in the fall of 1986.
Over the next ten years the museum continued to grow and to flourish. In 1995 a second phase of construction was contemplated for the museum to add two new galleries and adequate office space for the staff. Funding was once again acquired from private donors, and the new wings of the museum opened in January 1997. The generous donors for the second phase of building were Bill and Florence Schneider, Gerhard Heiter, and Fran and Tim Orrok. With the opening of the new museum galleries the SOU Foundation began a major capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for a new arts complex. For over forty years the Art Department lobbied for adequate classroom and studio space for art students. The dream is now a reality. With the opening of SOU's Center for the Visual Arts, your museum, The Schneider Museum of Art, plays a central role in this exciting new complex bringing compelling and challenging exhibits to southern Oregon, along with a rich spectrum of programming that includes workshops, family days, lectures, performances, and concerts.