Alfred Berkowitz Gallery | University of Michigan-Dearborn Archives
The University of Michigan-Dearborn has been collecting art since the 1960's when C. Edward Wall became Director of the Library. He was a collector himself and believed that art glass in particular would be the next frontier in collecting. The library continued to collect art over the years and to show it in the library. When the current library was built in 1979-80, the plan was to show works of art in the library as had always been done. This continues to be the case with the permanent collection, although the gallery was established on the library's third floor in 1997. The increased security enables the gallery to borrow works from other collections, show more of its own works, as well as continuing to show works in display cases on the other floors of the library. University art is also on display in other buildings and campus offices. Alfred Berkowitz was one of several glass collectors interested in the gallery. He donated many pieces of art, and provided funding for the gallery during the course of his connection with the university. The gallery was named after him to recognize these contributions. He died in a car accident in 1999.
The Curator emeritus of Collections and Exhibitions, painter Joseph Marks, joined UM-D in 1978, first as the slide curator for the art history discipline, becoming the Curator of the Collections and Exhibitions 1984. He retired in 2014. In 1996, Ken Gross was brought in as director of the Art Museum Project in hopes that adequate funding could be raised to build a museum for the collection. He retired in 2010. Since the death in 2007 of Electra Stamelos, who was a painter, retired art instructor, and Director of Acquisitions and Exhibitions at UM-Dearborn, her husband William Stamelos has been more involved with the gallery, and its support. Laura Cotton is the current Curator of Collections and Exhibitions.