Ackland Art Museum acquires 12 artworks from Souls Grown Deep Foundation

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Ackland Art Museum acquires 12 artworks from Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Ackland is the only university art museum selected for Foundation’s first round of giving


(Chapel Hill, N.C.— Sept. 14, 2017) – The Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only university art museum selected to acquire 12 significant works of art in the first round of giving from the Atlanta, Georgia-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which holds the largest and foremost collection of contemporary art from the African-American South.


The Ackland was honored to be the only university-affiliated art museum to acquire works in the first round of the Foundation’s “strategic gift/purchase program,” which aims to place art from its collection in museums across the United States. Other institutions selected for first round giving include New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.


With this new acquisition, which includes pieces by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Purvis Young and Leroy Almon, the Ackland’s collection of art by African American artists connected to the Foundation, and to founder William S. Arnett’s personal collection, rises to 49 works. The expanded collection offers the campus and community greater insight into the African-American experience in this region.


“These amazing additions to the Ackland’s collection build upon Carolina’s enduring commitment to promoting scholarship and understanding of an important perspective in the narrative of American art history,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “The Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s marvelous gifts open another remarkable window at the Ackland for scholars, students and visitors interested in developing a more comprehensive understanding of the marvelous blend that is Southern culture. We are honored by the foundation’s continuing generosity that helps Carolina increase awareness of the vernacular visual arts traditions of the African-American South.”


“University museums are the backbone of leading-edge art historical research, and the Ackland is among the best,” said Maxwell Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. “We are very pleased to help build on UNC-Chapel Hill’s longstanding effort to champion the creative traditions embedded in this acquisition, and to deepen the fruitful association between the Museum and the Foundation.”


The only non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, exhibiting, and promoting the work of contemporary artists from the African-American South, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation encompasses over 1,200 works by more than 160 artists. In 2015, the Foundation donated an unparalleled collection of 9,300 photographic works—including 35 mm color slide film and video recordings documenting visual artists and their work—to the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.


“These works of art have already begun to play important roles in teaching at the University,” said Katie Ziglar, director of the Ackland Art Museum. “For example, alumna Laura Bickford first encountered these artists in a seminar at Chapel Hill and has gone on to become the Foundation’s curator, and Elijah Hayward, a doctoral candidate in American studies, collaborated on the Ackland’s recent exhibition of works by Ronald Lockett.”


As with all pieces in the Ackland’s collection, even when not on display the new acquisitions are currently available to University’s faculty, students and the general public, by appointment.


The Ackland plans a full presentation and catalogue of its permanent collection of works of art by artists associated with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation – including works by Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Mary Lee Bendolph, and Nettie Young – in 2020.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.


About the Ackland Art Museum

Featuring a year-round calendar of special exhibitions and dynamic public programs, the Ackland Art Museum – located on the historic campus of the UNC-Chapel Hill – encourages visitors to engage with the rich legacy of the artistic past as well as with living artists from around the world. The Ackland’s holdings consist of more than 18,000 works of art, featuring significant collections of European masterworks, 20th-century and contemporary art, African art, North Carolina pottery and folk art. Additionally, the Ackland holds North Carolina’s premiere collections of Asian art and works on paper (drawings, prints and photographs). This universal collection of artworks from antiquity to the present makes the Ackland uniquely able to advance the teaching and research missions of the University. The Ackland Art Museum is located at 101 South Columbia Street on UNC-Chapel Hill campus. More information on hours and admission is available at


University Communications contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 445-8555,