Souls Grown Deep Announces Four New Museum Acquisitions

Thornton Dial, "Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steelworkers," 2001–03
April 29, 2019

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF) announced today that four museums have acquired works from its foremost collection of artworks by artists from the African American South: the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and The Phillips Collection. With the addition of these four museums, the foundation has now placed more than 350 works by over 100 artists in 16 institutions, primarily through a combination of gift/purchase. The collection transfer program is designed to strengthen the presentation of African American artists from the Southern United States in the permanent collections of leading museums across the world.

“We are so pleased that works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation collection are now entering museum collections in Minneapolis, Montgomery, and Washington, DC and to another historically black university in Atlanta. An essential element of the foundation’s core mission of advocating for the artists represented in our collection is to ensure that the broadest possible audiences have access to these important works of contemporary American art,” said Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Foundation.

In addition to its acquisition program, SGDF has also expanded its initiatives to include improving the socio-economic conditions of the artists and their communities represented in the collection, initiating a new grant program, and the creation of a paid internship program for students of color to gain experience in the museum field, specifically working with institutions that have acquired works from the SGDF collection. The foundation also recently announced the appointment of Paris-based Raina Lampkins-Fielder as curator, expanding its reach to museums abroad, as well as to expand international awareness of the contributions of artists from the African American South.
Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

The Clark Atlanta University Art Museum has received six works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which will be shown during the 2019–2020 academic year. Clark Atlanta University Art Museum is the second historically black college or university to receive a gift of works from the foundation; the first was Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. The selected works for the Clark Atlanta include four Gee’s Bend quilts, with an emphasis on Bricklayer and Medallion motifs, as well as sculptures by Thornton Dial Jr. and Dilmus Hall.

Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

Mia has acquired 33 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation that demonstrate the breadth of the foundation’s collection, including paintings and assemblages, sculptures, and works on paper by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Joe Minter, Royal Robertson, Mose Tolliver, Ronald Lockett, Lonnie Holley, Georgia Speller, Henry Speller, Arthur Dial, and others. The acquisition also includes five works by the Gee’s Bend quilters. The museum will organize an exhibition to highlight the acquisition in late 2020 or early 2021. In addition, Mia is partnering with SGDF to host an intern during the 2019–2020 academic year.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has acquired five works, including “Lost Americans,” an assemblage by Thornton Dial and “Ferris Wheel” by Jimmy Lee Sudduth, as well as quilts by Minnie Sue Coleman, Emma Mae Hall Pettway, and Joanna Pettway. These works will be introduced to the community beginning Saturday, May 11, and will remain on view through the summer of 2019.

The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection makes its first acquisition from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation with five works by the quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend: Mary Lee Bendolph, Aolar Mosley, Arlonzia Pettway, Malissia Pettway, and Lucy T. Pettway. The Phillips has plans to install a number of the works in Fall 2019.