Wealthy Black Couple Donates 100 Pieces of Art to Georgia Museum

They hope to provide an opportunity for all races of students to appreciate the contribution of African-American artists.

Posted: 01/05/2012 05:53 PM EST

The Georgia Museum of Art has received a hefty gift on behalf of a wealthy Black couple.


Art lovers Brenda and Larry Thompson, who have amassed one of the country’s largest private collections of African-American art, are donating more than 100 works to the institution. The donation includes paintings, prints, and sculptures of well-known and obscure artists estimated to be worth at least $1.5 million.


The couple will also fund an endowment to support a new curatorial position at the museum known as the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of the African Diaspora.


The new position will be a full-time academic professional who will oversee the museum’s collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and archives by African and African-American artists, will conduct research and publish the results, and will develop special exhibitions, lectures and symposia and other educational events for university and general audiences.


Mr. Thompson, a former U.S. deputy attorney general based in Atlanta and retired general counsel and secretary for PepsiCo, and his wife, a retired Atlanta Public Schools clinical school psychologist, said they wanted to give something back to the state where their careers excelled.


"Larry and I wanted to provide an opportunity for all students -- black, white, Hispanic -- to appreciate the contribution of African-American artists." Brenda Thompson said.


Larry Thompson initially announced the donation in March 2011 with the promise of more to come.  


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(Photo: Erik S. Lesser/Landov)