The Hibel Museum of Art: Adding Color and Culture to FAU’s MacArthur Campus

“Move it to the left, Ok that’s good. Wait, can it be turned around again?” asks Hibel Museum assistant director Nancy Walls.

Workers are carefully unloading yet another piece of art that will be added to the hundreds of other paintings, stones, sculptures, and even paperweights that reside in the Hibel Museum of Art.

On July 4, 2002, the museum moved into its new location at FAU’s MacArthur campus in Jupiter (previously located in Lake Worth) and thus began the era of collaboration between the FAU Honors College, the Hibel Art Foundation and the State of Florida. FAU joins Harvard, Boston and the University of Miami in housing permanent public collections of Edna Hibel’s work.

Hibel’s main focus in her artwork is positive humanism: a philosophy or art which derives its form from emotions arising out of contemplation of the world, people and their activities by a heart and mind concerned with the experience of Love and Beauty.

She uses a wide variety of media in her pieces, including fresco on surfaces such as, canvas, wood, silk, shells, plaster, Japanese rice paper, and cameo paper with oil glazes and gold leaf.

The reason Hibel chose FAU for her museum is simple: education.

“Edna is so interested in education and she wanted to have her museum at FAU to help enrich the art classes that are held here,” explains Walls.

“She started painting at age nine, so she is quite committed to nourishing younger students from elementary to high school as well.”

In fact, Hibel shows her devotion to education by displaying her very own private library of art books at the museum.

“Everyone is invited to take a seat at the table and do research or just browse through Edna’s collection,” explains Walls. “Edna wanted to share her quite extensive library with those who could find it useful and what better way to do that than here at the museum on the FAU campus?”

Not only are Hibel’s works on display at the museum, but various other local and world-renowned artist’s works pass through the museum as well. The first showcase to include other artists besides Hibel was a remembrance of the September 11th anniversary. Since then, an exhibition of naturally occurring and enhanced geodes and minerals from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Katz have been on display along with a special exhibition of sculptures and art by Ert.

Walls estimates that, “Each collection displays at the Hibel museum for three weeks, but the museum is almost always two-thirds Hibel.”

Hibel is known all over the globe for her artwork. Yet, she is also a former piano student and long time music lover. She incorporated The Promenade Concert Series into the other educational programs already occurring at the museum. Concerts are held in the MacArthur Campus Auditorium on the second Sunday of each month, November through June, and are free of charge.

Visitors to the museum can view the recent addition of a rose garden donated by the Rose Society of Florida. “Hopefully through the aid of other donations we will be able to put in some benches to enhance the garden,” adds Walls. “We would love to see students and visitors relaxing in our rose garden.”

The Hibel Museum of Art offers a wide variety of programs for children as well as adults. Beginning this summer, the museum will host afternoon tea parties twice a month featuring various speakers. Most recently, the museum hosted an exhibition of patriotic artwork by 48 area students, which attracted over 300 visitors.

For fans of Hibel’s work, there is a gallery located on Town Center Drive (one street over from Edna Hibel Drive) in Abacoa where her artwork is available for purchase. The gift shop is located inside the museum where reproductions and other souvenirs can be purchased as well.

“We are a non-profit organization and any contribution or purchase in the gift store and gallery will go directly back into the museum,” says Walls.

Come in, look around, you never know when you might actually bump into Edna herself.