Hillyer Art Library
The first home for the fine arts at Smith was the Hillyer Gallery, opened in 1882. Designed by Peabody and Stearns, the same architectural firm that built College Hall and Pierce Hall, the Hillyer Gallery added to the stately red-brick grouping of central campus buildings. Expanded by Graham Hall around 1910, the original arts building lasted just shy of a century, and was razed in 1970 to make way for a modern arts complex. The new Fine Arts Center, which opened in 1972, combined all the visual arts under one roof, including the ever-expanding Museum of Art. The enormity of the building, with its striking glass and red tile façade, and its elegant atrium adorned by Rodin’s imposing bronze, “The Walking Man” reflected the prestige of the fine arts at Smith, and housed what was, and still is, one of the largest academic departments on campus. In less than 25 years of use, however, it became clear that the combined pressures of New England weather and the changing nature of arts study had made a complete renovation of the complex necessary. Planning for the renovations began in 1997, and the new, improved Brown Fine Arts Center that we know today was re-opened in 2002.