JACKSON L. BLANTON DONATES ART COLLECTION TO LCVA
Farmville -- Jackson L. Blanton, retired Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, has decided to donate his 450-piece art collection to Longwood University’s art museum and has also pledged significant financial support of the art center through outright and estate gifts. Of the promised art, 230 works with an approximate value of $400,000 have already been placed in the possession of the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, either as current or promised gifts. Much of the art will be installed in a gallery and sculpture garden at Longwood’s planned Center for Communication Studies and Theatre.
A native of Tamworth in Cumberland County, Blanton retired in 2003 from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as Vice President and Community Affairs Officer, a role in which he promoted economic development in underserved communities. In addition, he developed the Bank’s fine arts program and served as curator of its art collection, which includes over 1,000 artworks. Avocationally, he advised several corporations in creating their collections, including the Carpenter Company and most recently, the highly respected Media General Art Collection in Richmond.
Blanton’s interest in art collecting dates to the 1970s, and his personal collection is widely eclectic, with a largely contemporary focus. He has acquired the work of a variety of Virginia artists, along with nationally known talent in media such as sculpture, painting, prints, and drawings. Represented artists include Maurice Beane, Nell Blaine, Richard Carlyon, Gene Davis, Harriet Fitzgerald, Ann Lyne, Albert Paley, Rubin Peacock, Beverly Pepper, Donald Sultan, and Nancy Witt.
Commenting on this wide-ranging variety and excellence, Longwood’s Vice President for University Advancement Bobbie Burton noted, “Longwood is very fortunate to be the recipient of one of the most exciting collections of art in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Jack Blanton, like his art, is wonderful, memorable, and certainly one of a kind.”
Blanton explained that he chose the LCVA because “I chaired the board for several years and so much admire LCVA’s community outreach. I like that the LCVA is placed in a building in the heart of downtown Farmville and that its programs reach people in nine counties throughout Southside Virginia. I don’t know of any other model like this.”
“Jack has always had a passion for contemporary art, for education, for art in education, and for the people of Southside Virginia,” noted friend and current LCVA board chair Heyn Kjerulf of Richmond. “His very generous donation of his art to Longwood University represents a perfect fit between a donor’s desires and a beneficiary’s needs. Longwood University and all its constituents will benefit greatly from this gift both in the short- and long-term future.”
The art will have a near-immediate and wide impact on Longwood students and faculty after its installation in the planned Center for Communication Studies and Theatre, which will be dedicated on September 10.
“Aside from my personal pride that Jack would give such an interesting and significant collection to the LCVA, I am excited that we have the perfect place to display the art, at Longwood’s new Communications Studies and Theater building,” said Dr. Patricia Cormier, president of Longwood. “This is an important gift that will enhance the beauty and integrity of this important facility.”
In November 2006, the LCVA received 230 of Blanton’s artworks. Fifty-one of those works were officially given at that point, with the remainder to be given formally over several years. The final portion of the planned gift remains with Mr. Blanton, who now lives in Florida.
Jack is very interested in people and organizations that use both sides of the brain,” noted LCVA Director K. Johnson Bowles. “He himself is adept at both analysis and art, and is skilled in many ways -- as an art advisor, as an administrator, as a communicator. His collection will be a stimulus for creative thinking in the Center for Communication Studies and Theatre.”
Blanton himself is pleased with the planned placement of the art: “I’m glad that my art won’t be sitting in storage. Instead it will be accessible to students, faculty, staff, and visitors, so it can be enjoyed. One of the many things I admire about Longwood is that there is a decentralization of good art throughout the campus. I’m delighted to be part of that: this way I can see my legacy without dying!”