The new Louis O. Palmer Gallery is the final keystone of Muskingum’s Studio Arts Complex. It is located between historic Paul Hall – home to the two-dimensional art program – and the Ruth and John Neptune Center – home to the three-dimensional art program.
The Palmer Gallery is a teaching gallery designed to showcase the work of Muskingum students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists. It features a central gallery, auxiliary spaces to support events, and environmentally-friendly solar panels to help support its electricity consumption.
The Palmer Gallery was built through the generosity of Muskingum alumni and named in honor and memory of Louis Orton Palmer III (1915-1997), Muskingum Professor of Art from 1956-1981.
Professor Louis O. Palmer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College, with a major in speech and a minor in romantic languages and English. He earned his Master of Music degree from the University of Chicago, and completed further studies in music at the American Academy in Fontainebleau, France, where his teachers included the noted composers Igor Stravinsky and Nadia Boulanger.
During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army in North Africa and Italy as a band master and liaison to the French Army. Prior to joining Muskingum, Professor Palmer taught at Lake Forest College and in Italy, and served as music critic for the Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago broadcast station WFMT, and for the national music magazine Musical America.
A larger-than-life personality, he was known as Il Professore across campus and in town. In the words of Ann G. Wilmoth ’67: “the Caribinieri cape and Borsalino hat, the ring and the dog, he would live without not a one of them.” She noted that “in the years between 1956 and 1981 more Muskingum students were taught by Louis Palmer than by any other single professor, perhaps in all of Muskingum’s history.”
His charge, as recalled by Ms. Wilmoth – “Look up, look at the world around you; There is beauty everywhere; all you need do is look for it” –became an inspiration for his students and an enduring legacy of his teaching.