Since the 1930s, Spelman College has developed a collection of art primarily from the African Diaspora through the generosity of alumnae, artists, trustees, Friends of the College, and also through select purchases. The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art became the nucleus of the College’s art collecting, preservation, and exhibition activities when it was established in 1996. To honor its unique mission and focus, the Museum acquires art that highlights the wide spectrum of works that women artists of the African Diaspora create.
Ethnographic, African, three-dimensional, polychrome, wooden artifacts have comprised the greater part of the College’s holdings. The collection also 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. More recent acquisitions are in alignment with the Museum’s mission. María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Lalla Essaydi, Ingrid Mwangi Robert Hutter, and Nandipha Mntambo are amongst the global roster of artists whose works are also represented in the College’s growing collection. Other recent acquisitions include works by Mequitta Ahuja, Firelei Báez, Vanessa L. German, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Deborah Roberts, Berni Searle, Billie Zangewa, and a gift from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation of textiles from the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers.
The Spelman College Collection is proud to be the custodian of artworks by celebrated artists across generations and throughout the African Diaspora. The Collection is a testament to the thought leadership that continuously guides the Museum. The Museum has become well regarded for its highly acclaimed exhibitions, innovative academic and public programming, and a growing and dynamic collection. The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is committed and well poised to continue claim its charge as a resource and repository for significant works of art.