About the Collection
The Spelman College permanent collection dates to the 1940s and includes more than 350 objects. Over the past seven decades, Spelman College has developed a collection of art primarily from the African Diaspora through the generosity of alumnae, artists, trustees, and Friends of the College and also through select purchases. For more than 50 years the College’s permanent collection was distributed throughout the campus and displayed in various offices and dormitories. When campus-wide distribution of art was disbanded in 1996 with the opening of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the Museum became the nucleus of the College’s art collecting, preservation, and exhibition efforts.
Ethnographic, African, three-dimensional, polychrome, wooden artifacts comprise the largest part of the permanent holdings. The collection of African art includes works by peoples of Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. In addition, the collection includes works by celebrated African American artists including Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Hale Woodruff, and many others. María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Lalla Essaydi, Ingrid Mwangi Robert Hutter, and Nandipha Mntambo are amongst the roster of artists whose works are also represented in the College’s growing collection. To honor its unique mission, the Museum acquires art that highlights the wide spectrum of works that women artists of the African Diaspora create.