Souls Grown Deep Has Placed Works of Art in 20 Museums across the Country.
Souls Grown Deep (SGD) announced that four museums are acquiring works from its foremost collection of artworks by artists from the African American South: the Asheville Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Toledo Museum of Art, and The Baltimore Museum of Art (pending BMA’s formal acquisition process and board approval). Souls Grown Deep provides the museums with these preeminent works through a combination gift/purchase agreement, furthering the organization’s commitment to strengthening the presentation of African American artists from the Southern United States in the permanent collections of leading museums around the world. With the addition of these agreements, the Foundation has now placed more than 375 works by over 100 artists in 20 institutions.
“Since initiating this program in 2014, we are pleased to have provided twenty institutions around the country with works by some of the most important artists of our time,” said Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of Souls Grown Deep. “Having these artists and their stories represented in major collections is crucial to a full and nuanced understanding of the art historical canon. We are pleased that Asheville, Baltimore, the Henry, and Toledo will add these works to their collections from coast to coast, and further understanding and appreciation of these narratives throughout their communities.”
In addition to its acquisition program, Souls Grown Deep has also expanded its initiatives to include improving the socioeconomic conditions of the artists represented in the collection through impact-investing, grant-making, fostering entrepreneurship, and advocacy. Its Internship Grant Program—initiated in spring 2019—provides paid internships for students of color to gain experience in the museum field, specifically working with institutions that have acquired works from the SGD collection. This fall marks the expansion of the program to a full academic year—September 2019 through May 2020—with a $10,000 stipend provided to each student. The new class of interns includes Ja’Hari Ortega at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Starasea Nidala Camara at Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Jordan “Stella” Hendricks at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Each student will have the opportunity to participate in research and programming tied to the works acquired by the museums from Souls Grown Deep.
Asheville Art Museum
The Asheville Art Museum will receive four works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, including three sculptural works by Joe Minter, Ralph Griffin, and Aaron Jesse, along with a quilt created by Amelia Bennett. Works by Ralph Griffin and Aaron Jesse have been approved for acquisition. Works by Joe Minter and Amelia Bennett have been purchased through the Museum’s Collectors’ Circle acquisition process.
The Baltimore Museum of Art
Pending the museum’s formal acquisition process and board approval, The Baltimore Museum of Art will acquire 21 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, including works by Purvis Young, Mary T. Smith, and Lucy T. Pettway.
Henry Art Gallery
Henry Art Gallery is acquiring Mary Louise Bennett’s “Housetop” quilt. The work will be on view in fall 2020 as part of the museum’s participation in the Feminist Art Coalition, a collaborative project between more than 40 institutions which seeks to generate cultural awareness of feminist thought, experience, and action. The quilt will be exhibited in the context of the Henry’s Viewpoints series, which pairs works of art from the collection with written insights from a cross-disciplinary group of University of Washington faculty.
Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art is acquiring ten works, including four from the Dial family—Thornton Dial, Richard Dial, and Thornton Dial Junior; five quilts by the Quilters of Gee’s Bend; and a sculpture by Leroy Almon. The museum will feature these works in the free exhibition Trip to the Mountaintop: Recent Acquisitions from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which will run from April 4 to July 5, 2020.
About the Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership & Foundation
Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership is dedicated to improving the quality of life of communities that gave rise to the art made by African American artists of the South in the care of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. It advances its mission by fostering economic empowerment, racial and social justice, and educational advancement in select regions across the Southeast. The Partnership derives its name from a 1921 poem by Langston Hughes (1902-67) titled The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the last line of which is “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”
Souls Grown Deep Foundation holds the largest and foremost collection of works of African American artists from the Southern United States, encompassing some 1,000 works by more than 160 artists. The Foundation advances its mission by advocating the contributions of these artists in the canon of American art history, accomplished through collection transfers, scholarship, exhibitions, education, public programs, and publications.
For more information, visit www.soulsgrowndeep.org.