Tougaloo, MS, June 17, 2021— Tougaloo College was awarded $450,000 to continue to preserve the award winning Tougaloo College Art Collections.
The Henry Luce Foundation awarded Tougaloo $250,000 to support the preservation of its American fine art collection. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the College $200,000 to support the digitization of its ethnographic works from Africa and the Oceanic region and support student engagement. The Tougaloo College Art Collections consist of the American Collection, European Collection, and the African and Oceanic Ethnographic Collection.
These awards will enable the College to foster art collections care, preservation, and interpretation and provide students with learning experiences utilizing the College’s valued cultural assets while illuminating the role of art and activism during the Civil Rights Movement. The fine art collection at Tougaloo College bears the representation of its history and commemorates the contributions made by leaders who fought for equality.
In 1963, the College gained national attention when an integrated group of Tougaloo students and faculty participated in the lunch counter sit-in at Woolworth’s in downtown Jackson. The event was covered by media outlets across the country, shining a spotlight on racial tensions in the Deep South and serving as an important catalyst for civil rights legislation. That same year, art historian and writer Dore Ashton formed the New York Art Committee for Tougaloo College. “The goal of the committee was to establish an interracial oasis allowing fine art to be the focus and the magnet. Ashton and the committee members shipped modern works by American and European artists, establishing the first modern art collection in Mississippi,” said Tougaloo alumnus and director of Tougaloo College Art Collections, Mr. Turry Flucker. “Included in the American collection are works by Jeanne Reynal, Tommy Sills, David C. Driskell, Hedda Stern, Fritz Bultman, Betty Parsons, and Romare Bearden, who were great supporters of Tougaloo College’s historic mission. We are beyond grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation for their continued support as we continue to preserve these important works of art,” Flucker added.
"The interwoven stories behind these collections inspire us. The collections serve the college's educational mission in promoting teaching and learning through artistic excellence and creative collaboration. They also provide opportunities for students and the general public to interact with the collections, to showcase the artistic works of some of the greatest artists of all time, and help foster a greater understanding of collection preservation," said Carmen J. Walters, president of Tougaloo College.
About Henry Luce Foundation
The Luce Foundation carries on this work by supporting projects at universities, policy institutes, media organizations, and museums, among many others. What these organizations have in common is a commitment to putting knowledge in the hands of the individuals and communities that need access to it. Hundreds of organizations have received more than 5800 grants totaling more than $1 billion since the Foundation’s establishment in 1936.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
As the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the US, the Mellon Foundation seeks to build just communities where ideas and imagination can thrive. To this end, our core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. The Foundation makes grants in four core program areas: Higher Learning; Arts and Culture; Public Knowledge; and Humanities in Place.