From the Lafayette College Art Gallery Files

In 1983, the $8.7 million Williams Center for the Arts opened.  The building was made possible by a generous donation from Morris Williams, Class of 1922, and Mrs. Williams. The dedication of the building took place on September 30, 1983, on Homecoming Weekend. The inaugural exhibit was titled “Nineteenth Century American Paintings” and all of the works came from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. George J. Arden, Class of 1944.  Arden wrote an introductory essay about the collection which was included in the catalog that accompanied the exhibit. Unfortunately, Arden died on August 28, 1983, and was unable to see the exhibit, which was shown from September 23 through October 14, 1983. A note about Mr. Arden’s passing and his dedication to the collection was included with the catalogs:

“When arrangements were first drawn for the inaugural gallery exhibition, George J. Arden was in the prime of his life.  Out of deep personal love for the paintings he collected, Mr. Arden had eagerly accepted Lafayette’s invitation that this artwork be displayed in conjunction with the opening ceremonies of the Williams Center for the Arts.  Hist untimely death on August 28—only weeks after the exhibition catalog went to press—has made this occasion a memorial to his energetic life; the preface which he provided for the catalog is, thus, to be valued as his final statement about the collection and the personal joy it game him.”

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