Historic Knight Library: Art and Architecture

On exhibit in Knight Library, winter and spring 2018

Introducing a Guide for Research

On October 23, 1937, a grand new library opened at the University of Oregon in the midst of the Great Depression.  Renamed Knight Library in 1988, the building was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 in recognition of its importance as a distinctive example of integrated art and architecture created by artists and designers largely funded by WPA public works programs.

The UO Libraries receives a substantial number of requests for information about the library’s architecture and art. Complaints are also occasionally received, particularly concerning the content of the murals in the east and west stairwells.  In 2017, the Knight Library Public Art Task Force was formed to identify opportunities to respond to the art while upholding the university’s values of intellectual freedom and artistic expression.  In the coming months, this task force will continue to work to identify approaches for inviting or commissioning creative responses or countervailing reactions to the public art.

The first project of the task force was the creation of a better documentation of the library’s building and artifacts to provide foundational information for further research. On display during winter term are selections from Historic Knight Library: Art and Architecture, the first comprehensive guide to the library’s art and architecture.  This research guide describes the building, the art that adorns it, the people who created it, and the historical contexts in which the works were created.

Historic Knight Library: Art and Architecture


Call for entries for a juried art exhibit in Knight Library

The University of Oregon Libraries invites UO students to participate in a juried art exhibition that will showcase creative expressions of the culture we aspire to have. Find out more! Show up, Stand out, Empower!


This event is free and open to the public. Accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided if requested in advance by calling 541-346-3056, or email libadmin@uoregon.edu.