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A image of Bo Bartlett PaintingThe College of the Arts at Columbus State University is uniquely positioned to create a learning opportunity like none other in the country. American artist and Columbus native Bo Bartlett is donating his archives, artwork and many major iconic paintings to the University. These works, along with additional donated artwork from personal and private collections, constitute the core holdings of The Bo Bartlett Center.

Bartlett's highly renowned Master Class, which attracts students from across the nation, will be offered annually at the Center. Rarely do art students get the opportunity to both study with an internationally renowned artist as well as have access to historic archives of that artist's inner-most thoughts detailed in journals, sketchbooks, drawings, references, photographs, films and correspondences. These elements are foundational in the process of creating a substantive work of art.

Bartlett maintains, “The approach is holistic and multi-layered. I believe that a great painter is a great person painting. It is not just paints and colors that will inform the students, but it is a whole systems approach to art and to life. Art can lead the way in awakening our inner most dreams and aspirations,; this in turn feeds the whole community.” This experiential learning model is the distinction offered by The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University.

For more information about Bo Bartlett, please visit

Quote from Andrew Wyeth: “Bo Bartlett is very American. He's fresh, he's gifted, and HE'S WHAT WE NEED IN THIS COUNTRY. Bo is one of the very few I feel this strongly about.”

VISIONThe Leviathon, painting by Bo Bartlett

The Bo Bartlett Center will be a 18,425 square foot interactive gallery space, housed on the River Park campus of Columbus State University. The red brick, former textile warehouse turned gallery space, designed by AIA award winning architect, Tom Kundig, sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Bartlett's hometown, Columbus Georgia. As a cornerstone of the College of the Arts' Corn Center for Visual Arts, The Bo Bartlett Center will be a pivotal element in the continued emergence of a national and international presence originally established by the College's Schwob School of Music and its Legacy Hall. Complementing exhibitions in the CSU Department of Art's acclaimed Norman Shannon and Emmy Lou P. Illges Gallery, The Bo Bartlett Center will serve as an experiential learning center and cultural hub for the visual arts while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the College's arts district

Image of a galleryMISSION

The primary mission of The Bo Bartlett Center is to emerge as a distinguished educational destination with dynamic programming designed for students, scholars, artists, collectors and people seeking to learn more about the power of art. The Center will enhance the success of students at all levels through its on-site experiential learning opportunities and outreach programs consisting of archival resources, master classes, exhibitions, and lectures featuring acclaimed artists and scholars with national and international reputations. A long list of American master artists has already agreed to teach and exhibit at the Center. The Center also will serve the community with outreach to elementary and secondary schools to enrich the lives of a younger generation of artists with the vitality of experience that the visual arts can provide.

The achievement of this mission will have a secondary effect by contributing significantly to the economic development of the region through its attraction of tourists seeking to experience cultural activities and enhancing the reputation of Columbus as an arts and cultural center in the State of Georgia. The fulfillment of the plans of the Corn Center with the development of the Bo Bartlett Center comes at a time when Columbus is experiencing a renaissance both culturally and energetically. The recent breaching of the dam on the Chattahoochee paves the way for many whitewater kayakers to visit Columbus and the region. These visitors and their families will be able to take full advantage of the cultural opportunities offered by the Center, due to its convenient location overlooking the Chattahoochee, the River Walk and Dillingham Street Bridge.


When established, The Bo Bartlett Center will house and display The Scarborough Collection: 14 monumental paintings by Bartlett. Additionally, the Center will house more than 300 paintings and drawings as well as the complete archive of sketch books, correspondence, journals, recordings, photographs, artistic notes, memorabilia, objects and objects d'art relevant to the production of Mr. Bartlett's work. These holdings reveal the intellectual rigor and spiritual discipline involved in the process of developing a single work and a sustained artistic oeuvre. The estimated value of these gifts to the Center is in excess of $10 million. This combination of original art work matched with the archival documents relating to that work provides unprecedented opportunities to explore insights into the multi-level process of artistic creation.

A rotating exhibitions gallery will feature the work of visiting American artists of national and international acclaim who will also teach master classes. This gallery will be available for traveling exhibitions from neighboring museums and universities throughout the Southeast. On occasion, this gallery will also exhibit pieces from CSU's Permanent Collection of more than 500 works of art and objects such as the Benno and Babette Rothschild New Guinea Collection. A third gallery will consist of an interactive research center where students and scholars may access Mr. Bartlett's archival materials either physically or in digitized formats. The entire Center will be designed as an interactive learning environment. With the addition of a College of the Arts library on the CSU RiverPark Campus adjacent to the Bo Bartlett Center, the Center's curator will continually broaden the collection by actively seeking the donation of sketchbooks, journals and archival materials of other noteworthy American artists interested in a permanent repository for their work.

As a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art, Mr. Bartlett will conduct annual workshops through the Center. The artist anticipates premiering his new works at the Bo Bartlett Center gallery before their exhibition in other museums and galleries across the United States. Students will have access to each new painting and the accompanying sketchbooks, studies and journals.

By combining the exhibition elements of a world-class modern art museum with the master instruction of a living American painter of international stature, his major works and the insights of his archives, The Bo Bartlett Center will be an unparalleled resource for students, the public and scholars of art.

 Quote by Bo Bartlett: “When I was growing up in Columbus, Georgia, I had very little exposure to art. I am at a point in my life where I want to give back to this community... I want national artists and art lovers to be able to experience the beauty of this region. And, I would like to provide the opportunity for young people in central southwest Georgia who want to learn the skills necessary to become an artist, to stay right here, at home.”

Join The Bo Bartlett Center for a very special trip to Boston, MA this October to experience all the artistic offerings Boston has to offer - click here for a reservation form, or contact Kimberly Tucker at (706) 507-8341 for more information.