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WVU Libraries to host artist and book collector

Mary Kay Watson

Artist Mary Kay Watson will discuss her art and book collection at the opening of her exhibit, “An Artist and Her Books: The Mary Kay Watson Collection,” at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in the Milano Room in WVU’s Downtown Library.

This hybrid event can also be viewed via Zoom. Register at

Mary Kay Brown Watson, a Morgantown native and WVU alumna, is an artist with a passion for art and book collecting. Her exhibition, which will be on display in the Rockefeller Gallery through August, explores the intersection of her art and her book collecting.

“The recent gift of the Mary Kay Watson book collection brings another dimension of decorated book covers, prevalent in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, to the rare book room,” Rare Books Curator Stewart Plein said.

The Watson collection builds on the donation of decorated bindings designed by Margaret Armstrong, a gift from Lowell and Suzanne Thing in 2022.

“As an artist, not unlike book binding designers like Margaret Armstrong, Watson’s collection reflects the artistic pursuits of the natural, physical, and imaginary worlds her books and her art draw upon. In this respect, her collection is unique in that her art can be seen in the books she collects and the art she creates, forming a cohesive whole,” Plein said.