Skip to content

Imagination To Impressionism

Allbritton Art Institute Partnership Enriches Students and Community at the University of Saint Thomas


Celebrating the realized imagination of a major partnership, the University warmly welcomed the Allbritton Art Institute into the UST family during its inaugural on-campus lecture by Dr. Rebecca Rabinow, Director of the Menil Collection, on February 21, 2024. As an educational organization and in affiliation with UST, the Institute offers art history classes, opportunities and funding for students to study abroad, scholarships, world-class art lectures, new art history faculty positions, and a library of 4,000 art books. 


Established in 1997 by the late businessman and philanthropist 

Joe L. Allbritton and his wife Barbara, the Institute promotes the appreciation and comprehensive study of art history, with emphasis on impressionism and post-impressionism. 

Integral to its mission, the Institute provides opportunities for students to study original works of art.  

“We have found the simultaneous exposure to original works of art while learning about technique, materials, and the culture and environment of the artist broadens a student’s understanding.” Mrs. Allbritton said. “It truly opens one’s mind to our world both past and present. We established the Allbritton Art Institute to support and make this possible, to give opportunities to students who might not otherwise have this understanding and experience.”  


Serving students for 25 years, the Allbritton Art Institute is newly affiliated with the University of St. Thomas in the heart of Houston’s renowned Museum District. 

“This fantastic partnership allows UST to revive its B.A. in Art History,” said Associate Division Dean for Fine & Performing Arts and Allbritton Art Institute Interim Director Dr. Dominic Aquila. “It also further vitalizes our other collaborations, especially those with the Glassell School, the Museum of Fine Arts–Houston, and the Menil Collection. In addition, our proximity to the Museum District extends the reach and influence of the Allbritton Art Institute.” 


With a passion and appreciation for art emanating from her words, 

Mrs. Allbritton added, “Our goal is to impact young people at UST through courses that can enrich and challenge students to look beyond their textbooks. Original works of art will accompany lectures given by prominent authorities of the time period and piece, making the curriculum come alive and inspiring students in many ways.”  

Barbara Allbritton stressed that the study of art adds an essential dimension to the liberal arts, enlarging the capacity for the appreciation of beauty and thereby enriching their studies and their lives. “Not everyone can be a renowned artist or scholar, but art education can provide more opportunities for personal and mutual enjoyment. When you go to a museum, you might notice a certain brushstroke, a brilliant color, or a small expression that communicates a great event in history. Having an informed lens through which to see and interact with art opens one’s mind to see the world in different ways.”   

The President’s Circle is an esteemed group of devoted benefactors whose philanthropy works to bolster the University of St. Thomas and its students. Membership begins with a cumulative contribution of $1,000 or more annually, which supports the University’s greatest immediate needs, chief of which is providing scholarships for deserving students with limited financial means. 

The University of St. Thomas goes beyond the education of our students by truly investing in their formation as men and women of a higher purpose. When you choose to support UST, you make it possible for deserving students to attain spiritual formation in addition to a college degree. A UST education creates paths to professional success and meaningful lives that make the world a better place. 

About the Author — Jamie Roark

Jamie RoarkJamie Roark is an experienced, Houston-based content creator & communications skills coach. Through her company, Simply Communicate USA, she especially enjoys helping Higher Education and healthcare organizations to tell stories that inform and influence.

share this post