John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art

The Lilley is open! Hours of operation: Tuesday-Saturday 12 - 4 p.m. The museum is following face mask and social distancing mandates.

Visit the Museum


The Lilley Museum of Art, since its inception in 2019, has focused on reflecting the diversity of society through art inside our walls. We are aware that museums were founded within the structures of colonization and exploitation, and have thus systematically excluded minority groups throughout time. Despite the attempt of many museum professionals to decolonize museums, these concepts are still deeply entrenched in some of our practices. Most museums in the United States still have more than 80% of their collections comprised of white artists and almost 90% of these are male. However, our foundations should not dictate who we are today. Our past should serve as a vehicle to undo oppressive structures. We believe art has the power to forge relationships, create a sense of belonging in diverse communities and be used as a tool for change — a tool to combat racism and inequality.

Even though we are a fairly new museum, we inherited a collection with roots in the 1960s. It is no surprise that this collection does not have many works by non-Western artists or artists of color, as these artists have been historically overlooked and often ignored. It is our absolute goal to remediate this imbalance in our collection and acquire works that reflect the multiplicity of our society. Our Board of Advisors is currently working on diversifying its members and reviewing its governance. We want change to come from within, from our core structure. We pledge to be transparent with respect to changes we intend to make and welcome criticism and feedback from the communities we serve.

We will continue to reimagine our exhibitions and events to ensure they highlight and feature underrepresented artists. We want The Lilley to become a commons—a safe place, where our communities feel welcomed, heard, and represented. We want our programming and exhibition calendar to ignite dialogs and offer patrons the opportunity to reflect on issues of race, politics, decolonization, and inequality. As an academic museum, we believe knowledge is power, and art can build bridges between diverse people and communities, especially during troubling times.

As curator La Tanya Autry and Museum Educator Mike Murawski accurately state, “Museums are not neutral.” Museums cannot afford to live in the illusion of political neutrality and remain complacent. We, as art institutions, must take bold steps to address and dismantle institutional racism and use our power for social change. The Lilley stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, our local Reno community and all of those around the world standing up against racism, inequality and police brutality. We vow to act through our programming, exhibition calendar, acquisitions and events to amplify the voices of those who have been historically silenced.

In memory of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd and all the victims of racism and policy brutality, we say their names and honor their lives.

Vivian Zavataro
Director, John & Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art

University of Nevada, Reno logo in black

The John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art (The Lilley) supports campus, regional and global viewers in an exploration of today's world through intellectual and creative inquiry. This mission is informed by values articulated by the department and The Lilley board of advisors who believe that our human community stands to gain from the development of cognitive, behavioral and affective arts learning that leads to informed and intentioned living. Committed to extend the excellence of the University of Nevada, Reno, The Lilley collects, conserves, exhibits and shares art research with the understanding that both our cultural heritage and our future belong to the publics we serve.

The Lilley offers regularly scheduled programming and events co-hosted with other campus departments and local organizations. Exhibitions rotate frequently.

On most Thursday nights, lectures, workshops, demonstrations, screenings, studio visits and more are all part of the museum's programming accompanying each exhibition. Saturday receptions and special education events are also a highlight of each exhibition season.

Because great universities have great museums, The Lilley is a member of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries.

Permanent Collection

The John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art permanent collection represents an impressive, decades-old collecting program that is noteworthy for its early attention to regional painters including Jim McCormick, Craig Sheppard, Sheldon Pennoyer, Hans Meyer Kassel, Louis Siegriest and Maynard Dixon. In addition to its collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, the collection is exceptionally strong in old master and modern prints and drawings, Chinese art, textiles and works of art by Native American artists.

Emeritus professor, Ed Martinez, organized the collection of a number of print portfolios from major international printmakers to supplement a deep and diverse print collection that also includes examples of rare Japanese wood block prints, a who's who of contemporary printmakers and master prints dating as far back as the 16th century. African sculpture, marquetry furniture, glass and ceramic sculpture round out a broad teaching collection that represents the universal emphasis of this land-grant institution's mission.

The Lilley recently completed a three-year program of re-cataloguing the collection in addition to beginning a conservation program. Meeting the needs of the current collection, as well as planning for growth is enabled in part with the support of gifts to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation. To support the effort, please visit the College of Liberals Arts donation page.