New Art for Access program to suuport scholarships


BENNINGTON — At Bennington College, artwork will soon go to work — supporting scholarships for talented students.

Last Friday, the college announced a new Art for Access program, inviting gifts of works of art to be sold to support scholarships.

Five works will be auctioned off individually in partnership with international auction house Christie's, starting with Julian Dupre's La moisson, as part of Christie's Oct. 31 auction of 19th century European art.

Four other works will be sold, all from the 20th century, by Bennington College alumn Helen Frankenthaler, Norman Bluhm, Diego Rivera and Georges Mathieu.

The paintings were selected based on several criteria, including size and scale that makes the work a challenge to display in campus buildings, fragile materials, and increasing carrying costs and market value, according to a list of FAQs on the program.

All of the paintings were donated without restriction for the benefit of the college, according to a press release announcing the program.

The funds raised will be awarded to the most talented and deserving students, but will not be limited to those intending to study the visual arts.

Of the incoming class at Bennington College, 27 percent are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, which are provided to low-income students, according to the FAQs.

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Two-thirds of the incoming class receive need-based aid.

To guide this work, Bennington plans to recruit a new Art for Access committee this fall, co-chaired by trustees Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan and Michael Hecht.

The committee of faculty, alumni, parents and friends will seek gifts of artwork to be used as a means to raise funds for scholarships, alongside monetary gifts.

These gifts will join similar art holdings that have been given to the college over the years with permission to sell them at a future date to support the college, according to the release.

The college has sold art previously — it held art auctions with Sotheby's of donated works by faculty, alumni and friends in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to the FAQs.

It has also auctioned collections contributed by alumnae with the express intent to be sold to benefit the college.

Currently, the college has a collection of some 500 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and ceramics that have been donated over the years, including works given by alumni and faculty, according to the FAQs.

Besides raising funding for scholarships, the college believes this effort will expand fundraising opportunities, galvanize new donors and bring visual art assets to enrich the campus, according to the FAQs.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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