Timeline of the Arts at Washington College
1742 - When his father was given a job teaching at the Kent County Free School, Charles Willson Peale, the famous American artist, age one, moves with his family to Chestertown.
1775 - Charles Willson Peale paints a miniature portrait of Washington College’s first president, William Smith.
1783 - The first women to instruct at any American college or university, members of the famous Peale family, Elizabeth Callister Peale and Sara Callister, teach painting and drawing to WC’s first graduating class.
1786 - Prior to her death, Elizabeth Callister Peale designs the official seal for Washington College, which is still used today.
1804-1805 - Washington College oversees a small school for women, teaching sewing, embroidery, filigree and lace making, before state funding is revoked.
1827 - A large fire destroys the first Washington College library, and along with it, a significant portion of documentation of the early history of fine arts at Washington College.
1914 - Constance Stuart Larrabee is born in England shortly before her family relocates to South Africa.
1949 - Constance Stuart Larrabee moves with her husband to Chestertown.
1950 - Daniel Z. Gibson is elected college president.
1962 - A 600-seat state of the art theater is proposed, but due to budget constraints, construction on the visual arts wing is delayed indefinitely.
1967 - Gibson Fine Arts Center opens, where studio art classes are taught in the theater’s basement.
1969 - Washington College hires its first full-time art history professor.
1971 - A full-fledged visual arts department is developed.
1973 - Washington College hires its first full-time studio arts instructor.
1975 - The McAlpin House, originally owned by a member of the Rockefeller family, is opened as the main studio space for the Art Department.
1983 - Larrabee establishes the Washington College Friends of the Arts Committee.
1984 - The Lynette Nielson Memorial Art Award is created to acknowledge excellence in art and continues to be awarded annually to deserving Washington College students.
1987 - Larrabee organizes a nationally commended college photography symposium, held on Washington College campus.
1988 - Constance Stuart Larrabee Creative Arts Center becomes the new arts facility and studio space, constructed within WC’s obsolete boiler plant.
2006 - The Nancy L. Underwood professorship in art history is created; the first recipient is Washington College professor and Kohl Gallery director, Dr. Donald McColl
2009 - Gibson Center for the Arts opend that fall and unveiled its first dedicated art gallery, funded by Benjamin and Judy Kohl.