Acquisitions News

Four U.S. Museums Acquire Works from Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Thornton Dial, Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steelworkers, 2001–03.


The Clark Atlanta University Art Museum in Georgia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., have acquired pieces from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s collection, which focuses on black artists working the American South.

The Atlanta-based foundation has now placed over 350 works by more than 100 artists in 16 institutions by way of its collection transfer program, which serves to raise the profile of African-American artists in institutional settings.

Six works—including four Gee’s Bend quilts and sculptures by Thornton Dial Jr. and Dilmus Hall—from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation will go on view at the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, the second historically black college to receive a gift from the foundation, during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art has added to its holdings 33 pieces made by Nellie Mae Rowe, Joe Minter, Mose Tolliver, Ronald Lockett, and Lonnie Holley, among others. The museum, which also acquired five works by Gee’s Bend quilters, will stage an exhibition of the newly acquired artworks in late 2020 or early 2021.

An assemblage by Thornton Dial, Jimmy Lee Sudduth’s Ferris Wheel at the Fairground, and several Gee’s Bend quilts will go to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

Through its first acquisition from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the Phillips Collection has received five works by the quilters of Gee’s Bend: Mary Lee Bendolph, Aolar Mosley, Arlonzia Pettway, Malissia Pettway, and Lucy T. Pettway. The pieces will be installed at the museum later this year.

Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, said of the acquisitions, “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.”

A selection of acquisitions follows in the slideshow below.

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