This contemporary art collection, comprising more than 450 works, came to LCVA through the generosity of Jackson L. Blanton, 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 more than 1,000 artworks.
The collection is eclectic and includes 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.
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.