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UMD's Driskell Center Receives $2.2 Million Art Collector Bequest

February 7, 2013

Dorit Yaron 301-405-6835

Untitled drawing by John BiggersCOLLEGE PARK, Md.―The University of Maryland's David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora (Driskell Center) announced today a bequest of more than 225 collected artworks valued at more than $2.2 million from the estate of the late Sandra Anderson Baccus and her husband, Lloyd T. Baccus, M.D. Mrs. Baccus, who passed in 2012, and her husband, who passed in 2006, lived in Roswell, Ga., where they led their medical business, Correctional Medial Associates, Inc., for more than 25 years. Mrs. Baccus served on the Driskell Center board from 2004 to 2006.

Highlights of the collection include paintings, drawings, collages, mixed media, and sculptures by Charles Alston, Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Radcliffe Bailey, John Biggers, Eldzier Cortor, Aaron Douglas, David C. Driskell, Clementine Hunter, W.H. Johnson, Loïs Mailou Jones, Hayden Palmer, Charles White and Hale Woodruff, to name a few. The gift also included important artist books and portfolios from Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Betty Saar and more.

At Apollo Theater watercolor by Palmer Hayden"The Center, established in honor of one of America's most accomplished artists and historians, Professor David C. Driskell, is honored to have received this wonderful gift," said Curlee R. Holton, Driskell Center interim executive director. "This gift illustrates in full measure the impact that the dedicated collector plays in ensuring the safe guarding of our cultural legacy."

The Driskell Center's goals include the documentation, preservation and presentation of the contributions of African-American artists to the larger American and world canon of art. The extremely generous and valuable Baccus gift contributes significantly to the center's art collection of more than 1300 pieces of works by African-American artists, as well as more than 50 African objects, enabling the center to present some of the most important African-American art nationally and internationally.

Works of prominent African-American artists were in the private collection of the Baccus family. Committed to education and the arts, Mrs. Baccus hoped one day that her collection would be used for educating future generations about the contributions of African Americans to the field of American art. She was an advocate and patron of the arts, and an important part of the arts community where she was introduced to and became familiar with the work of Maryland distinguished professor emeritus of art, David C. Driskell. 

Photograph by PH PolkDavid C. Driskell recalls meeting Mrs. Baccus in 2000 at an event held at the M. Hanks Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif. Later that year, they met again at the High Museum of Art when the exhibition "Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection," organized by the University of Maryland, was on display at the High. They quickly became friends.

"We shared the same goal of promoting the art of African-American artists," said David C. Driskell about his friendship with Mrs. Baccus. "Thanks to generous gifts like Sandra's, the center is better able to fully realize its goals." 

Soon after their meeting, Mrs. Baccus made a commitment to donate her art collection to the center. She was also among the main supporters of the David C. Driskell Prize, established in 2005 at the High Museum of Art, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African-American art and art history. The prize recognizes a scholar or artist in the beginning or middle of his or her career whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African-American art or art history.

The current Baccus's in-kind gift of more than $2.2 million ranks them among the top benefactors of the center to date.

Ink drawing by Charles Alston

About Sandra Anderson Baccus
Sandra Anderson Baccus was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on September 13, 1945 and grew up in Austin, Texas. She graduated from Boston University and City College of New York, from which she earned a Master of Science in Education in 1972. She was co-founder and president of several companies in the healthcare and energy industries, and led a medical business, Correctional Medical Associates, Inc., with her husband Lloyd. She took a leading role in community service, fundraising for non-profits organizations and arts advocacy. She passed away unexpectedly at her home in Roswell, Ga., on Feb. 5, 2012. The couple was an avid collector of African-American art, serving as patrons to various arts institutions such as the High Museum of Art, African American Collections at Emory University, and the National Black Arts Festival, all in Atlanta, Ga.; the Texas Southern Museum of Art, Houston, Texas; and the David C. Driskell Center, College Park, Md.

About the Center
The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park, honors the legacy of David C. Driskell, distinguished university professor emeritus of art, artist, art historian, collector and curator, by preserving the rich heritage of African-American visual art and culture. Established in 2001, the center is committed to preserving, documenting, and presenting African-American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African-American art. The center's exhibition program is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council. For further information regarding the collection and future exhibitions, please call 301.314.2615, email driskellcenter@umd.edu, or visit www.driskellcenter.umd.edu.