Longwood has been collecting art for more than 100 years with the express intention of sharing its collection with students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In recent years the university has committed to exhibiting portions of its collection in every academic building on campus.
Today works of art can be seen in nearly every building, and plans are underway for future buildings to display works from the collection. More than 95 percent of the collection has been contributed by alumni and friends of the University to serve as touchstones that encourage learning, foster an understanding of the interconnection between disciplines, and emphasize the importance of history and culture in a healthy, democratic society.
As official steward of Longwood University’s art collection, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) exhibits art throughout the campus. In this role the LCVA presents a wide range of subject and form to illustrate art’s capacity to affect peoples' lives.
Art on campus is available for public viewing during normal business hours when the University is open.
To learn more, select one of the following links:
The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
The Cole Gallery (between Blackwell Hall and Ruffner)
Lancaster Hall (Rowe Gallery)
Center for Communications Studies & Theatre (The Jack Blanton Gallery)
John H. and Karen Williams Chichester Science Center
Hull Education Center
Dorrill Dining Hall
Campus Loan Collection
Campus Art Tours
Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
129 North Main Street (corner of Third & Main)
The LCVA is a 20,000-square-foot exhibition center featuring two rotating galleries that have shown works of worldwide importance, including the award-winning Reflecting Centuries of Beauty: The Rowe Collection of Chinese Art, the nationally traveled Pre-Columbian Art from the Mississippi Museum of Art, and a steady stream of solo and group exhibitions for nationally known artists such as Faith Ringgold, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Lesley Dill, David Macaulay, and Kojo Griffin.
The LCVA also dedicates one gallery to a permanent exhibition of stunning African art, part of the Ziegler and Brumfield Collections of African Art. In 1997 Robert Ziegler, a longtime resident of Africa, established this collection with twenty-six important pieces. In 1999, Thomas and Donna Brumfield donated an additional eighty-eight works of African art. The collection includes an impressive array of statues, masks, drums, baskets, and garments, covering four geographical areas, twelve countries, and twenty-seven cultures. A catalog of this collection, Telling Objects: African Art from the Permanent Collection of the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, is available.
Since its founding, Longwood has reminded its community of the honor and accomplishments achieved by its leaders through portraiture depicting its presidents and outstanding faculty. Many of these portraits can be found in Ruffner Hall, along with two watercolors by Christopher Register of Longwood’s art department, a gift from the University of Virginia commemorating the rededication of the Rotunda following the calamitous fire of 2001.
Additionally, Ruffner Hall is home to not one, but two, statues of Joan of Arc, a patron saint of Longwood since its years as an all-female teachers’ academy. Joan of Arc in Domrémy is on permanent display in the Rotunda of Ruffner Hall. Affectionately known to the Longwood community as “Joanie on the Stonie,” this statue was purchased as a gift to the school by the Class of 1914. It is a plaster cast made by the Boston firm of Caproni Brothers after Henri-Michel-Antoine Chapu’s Joan of Arc in Domrémy, a work honored at the 1870 Paris Salon.
The other Joan of Arc sculpture is a reduced version of the bronze 1915 monument Joan of Arc by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), one of the foremost American sculptors of the early 20th century. Popularly known as “Joanie on the Pony,” Longwood’s copy, based on a casting of that monument in New York City, was given by Huntington to the college in 1927 at the request of the students. “The monument is considered one of the finest equestrian monuments in the United States,” said Robin Salmon, vice president and curator of collections at Brookgreen Gardens, Huntington’s summer home. “It’s the first equestrian monument of a woman by a woman.” Huntington’s Joan has traditionally been on display in the Colonnades.
The International Students Lounge in East Ruffner houses a selection of works from or inspired by ancient and modern European and Asian cultures.
The Cole Gallery
The Waverly Manson Cole Collection of 19th-Century Decorative Arts is on view in the Cole Gallery located between Ruffner and Blackwell Halls.
In 2004 the late Dr. Waverly Manson Cole of Richmond made a gift of more than 500 pieces of beautiful 19th-century Bohemian and European glass, English pottery, and Meissen porcelain to Longwood University. His generous gift was made in loving memory of his mother, Sallie Sterling Manson Cole (1904-2002, Class of 1927).
Characterized by its fine quality and remarkable color, Bohemian glass is a broad term which describes glass made in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) since the 13th century. The glass in the Cole Collection is “ruby” glass from the 19th century. The collection boasts a vast array of color variations, from pink to an orange red to a claret red, along with a variety of techniques such as etching, staining, engraving, encasing, and cutting. The collection also illustrates the importance (and complexity) of 19th-century social ceremony through specialized wares such as decanters and drinking vessels, finger bowls, epergnes, and celery vases. The majority of pottery jugs in the Cole Collection are by two well-known English pottery manufacturers, Samuel Alcock & Co. (c. 1828-1859) and Charles Meigh & Son (c. 1851-1861).
In Grainger Hall, where students study modern languages and literature, the walls feature a collection of 19th-century prints, most of which were given to the university by Mary Kossuth Shumate and by Homer “Kip” Kephart in memory of Bobby Chandler. From steel engravings made for a tourists’ guide to Versailles, to an architect’s sketches of Spanish buildings, to a set of prints reproducing “world-famous pictures” from the 18th and 19th centuries that perfectly reflect late Victorian tastes, the art in this collection fittingly evokes the cultures and the history of Europe.
The Rowe Collection of Chinese Art was given to Longwood by alumna Bernice Beazley Rowe (’70) and her husband Dr. Henry Rowe. Established in 1994, the collection is one of the most important in Virginia and has grown to contain more than 340 works representing nearly all dynasties and dating from 10,000 B.C.E. to the twentieth century. Highlights from the collection include large Neolithic-period clay vessels, Shang bronze vessels, Mingqi statuettes from the Han dynasty, a Tang tomb figure, a Ming roof tile, and Qing vases and bowls.
In the spring of 2006, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts displayed Reflecting Centuries of Beauty: The Rowe Collection of Chinese Art. The exhibition and its accompanying catalog have won top awards from the American Association of Museums, the Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Council on the Advancement and Support of Education. Portions of the Rowe Collection are on permanent display in the Lancaster Gallery of Lancaster Hall, the primary administration building for Longwood University.
Center for Communications Studies & Theatre
Longwood University's most recent building, the Center for Communications Studies & Theatre opened in September 2009. An added attraction in the Center is The Jack Blanton Gallery, which features more than 160 of the 230 pieces of artwork donated by Jack Blanton in 2006. Blanton, former chairman of the LCVA Advisory Board, is a retired Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond vice president who lives in North Palm Beach, Fla. The artwork, described as widely eclectic with a contemporary focus, features a variety of Virginia artists along with nationally known talent in media such as sculpture, painting, prints, and drawings. Following the renovations of adjoining Bedford Hall, an outdoor sculpture garden will house many of the large-scale, three-dimensional works from the Blanton Collection.
The building was designed with art in mind, and the theatres’ box office adjoins a dramatic two-story atrium where ticketholders can enjoy the art as they wait for performances. Art hangs in tiers in the atrium, and it also graces the corridors of the buildings as well as a number of seating areas. Represented artists include Maurice Beane, Nell Blaine, Richard Carlyon, Gene Davis, Jerry Donato, Harriet Fitzgerald, Steven Glass, Mary Holland, Kris Iden, A. B. Jackson, Ann Lyne, Henrietta Near, Paula Owen, Rubin Peacock, Julia Pfaff, Laura Pharis, Theresa Pollak, Milo Russell, Foon Sham, Conway Thompson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Willie Anne Wright.
John H. and Karen Williams Chichester Science Center
Opened in 2006, Longwood’s Chichester Science Center shatters the left brain/right brain dichotomy with its own permanent art collection. Celebrating the interaction between art and science, the exhibition features ninety works selected for both their quality and their relevance to a discipline taught in the science department. The art ranges in format from traditional to contemporary and in tone from serious to jovial, while the subject matter explores aspects of ecology, biology, chemistry, physics, botany, and geography.
Notable artists include John James Audubon and Robert Smithson, among others. Virginia artists and Longwood’s own past and current faculty and alumni also feature heavily, including Marty Brief, Anna Cox, Abraham Lincoln Criss, Susan Eder, Pam Fox, David Freed, Jim Knipe, Nancy Leitch, David Lewis, Annie Lee Ross, Tanja Softić, Bob Swain, and John Williams. Williams, of Longwood’s art department, collaborated with Dr. Edward Kinman of the geography department to create a work in glazed ceramic depicting local land use changes over time.
Established in 2004, Longwood University’s Brock Commons Outdoor Sculpture Program has prominently placed on campus a variety of sculpture by nationally known artists. Each piece is selected by a committee of graduating art students. The sculptures come to campus for a two-year period, assuring that a variety of form, style, and content will be represented over the course of several years.
Featured artists have included Carl Billingsley (Greenville, NC), Kendall Buster (Richmond, VA), Kathleen Driscoll (Medford, MA), Be Gardiner (West Jefferson, NC), Brece Honeycutt (Washington, DC), Tripp Jarvis (Greenville, NC), Hanna Jubran (Greenville, NC), Rob Neilson (Appleton, WI), Foon Sham (Springfield, VA), Lucy Slivinski (Chicago, IL), Sandy Willcox (Farmville, VA), and Joyce Zarins (Amesbury, MA).
The sculpture program’s purpose is to bring to campus contemporary art and artists to foster intellectual discourse and illuminate the creative process, and to provide an aesthetic environment in which the visual arts can be appreciated on a daily basis. Each semester two artists complete a residency during which they install their work with students and present collateral lectures and workshops for Longwood classes and student groups.
The Brock Commons Sculpture Program is made possible by the Longwood University Art Department, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Office of Facilities Management.
Hull Education Center
Longwood University’s Hull Education Center receives an annual influx of art from the area’s up-and-coming talent. The LCVA sponsors an annual spring art show featuring the best work of schoolchildren in nine counties in Southside Virginia. The following fall, highlights of that yearly art show are framed and displayed in Hull, a reminder to tomorrow’s teachers of the exciting potential of the students they will reach.
A selection of photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) lines the Center’s second-floor hallways. Johnston’s ground-breaking work documents life at Hampton and Tuskegee Universities (then Institutes) at the turn of the last century. Her work is lauded for its thoughtful and respectful depiction of African Americans during a time when many contemporaries relied on harmful stereotypes. This illustration of an important moment in US education history gives cause to ponder how far our nation has come and how far we still must go in fairly educating all citizens.
Dorrill Dining Hall
In the Dorrill Dining Hall’s lower level an exhibition space features the work of current Longwood University art students, whether graphic design, photographs, paintings, or various other media. Exhibitions are generally on view during the fall and spring semesters. Student art work can also be seen at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts each April and May during the Art Department Seniors Exhibition.
Campus Loan Collection
Longwood’s Campus Loan Collection, established in 1993, contains over 200 works that are available for display in Longwood University offices and in secured office spaces such as conference rooms, hallways, and lobbies. In the fall of each year, faculty and staff are invited to view the collection folder and select artwork for loan. The purpose of the campus loan program is to provide on campus an aesthetic presence of the borrower’s choosing.
Campus Art Tours
The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts staff is happy to present free tours of art on campus to groups of all sizes and ages. For more information about the collections and how to schedule a tour please call 434.395.2206.