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Lonnie B. Holley, The Fifth Child Burning,1994. Photo: Ron Lee/ The Silver Factory. Courtesy of Lonnie Holley / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Partners with Four New Museums

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the nonprofit that aims to strengthen the presence of African American artists from the Southern United States in the collections of leading museums, has entered into acquisition/gift agreements with the Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art, pending board approval.

The Asheville Art Museum is supposed to receive three sculptural works by Joe Minter, Ralph Griffin, and Aaron Jesse, along with a quilt created by Amelia Bennett. The Henry Art Gallery is acquiring Mary Louise Bennett’s Housetop quilt. The Toledo Museum of Art is acquiring ten works, including four from the Dial family, Thornton Dial, Richard Dial, and Thornton Dial Jr.; five quilts by the quilters of Gee’s Bend; and a sculpture by Leroy Almon. The Baltimore Museum of Art will potentially acquire twenty-one works by Purvis Young, Mary T. Smith, and Lucy T. Pettway, among others.

“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 Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the foundation. “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, the foundation has expanded its initiatives to include improving the socioeconomic conditions of the artists represented in its collection through grantmaking, advocacy, and investments and through its community partnerships arm. Earlier this year, the organization also launched an internship program, which helps students of color gain work experience in the museum field.