The UMGC collections are free and open to the public at UMGC locations and other venues in the state of Maryland. Highlights from the UMGC collections include works by Andy Warhol, Herman Maril, Grace Hartigan, Joyce Scott, Gladys Goldstein, Raoul Middleman, Joseph Sheppard, Jacob Lawrence, Sam Gilliam, Paul Reed, Alma Thomas, Samella Lewis, and David Driskell. The UMGC collections also comprise outstanding works of Asian art from virtually all Chinese dynasties.
The UMGC Arts Program is dedicated to furthering the university's objectives by creating a dynamic environment in which our diverse constituents, including students and the general public, can study and learn from direct exposure to our art collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.
The Arts Program was established in 1978 by Bylee Massey, the wife of former President T. Benjamin Massey. Her first project included purchasing original prints for the two VIP suites at the UMGC Inn and Conference Center* (now the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center) and acquiring a collection of modern Japanese woodblock prints for the Mt. Clare Café. Looking at the bare walls of the conference center, Bylee Massey thought it would be an ideal place to showcase works of Maryland artists. Having just arrived in Maryland after a long stay overseas, she had an interest in art but few connections in the Maryland artists community. She contacted several people, including Doris Patz and Herman Maril, who solicited donations from artists and collectors throughout the state. The new collection focused on works by established and emerging artists who were born or trained in Maryland or who lived, taught, or worked in the state. The collection was first put on public display in 1981. As new works were added, the Maryland Artist Collection—with more than 2,900 paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs from the 1920s to the present—became one of the largest of its kind on permanent exhibition in the state.
Baltimore writer and musician Doris Patz studied music at the Carnegie Technical School of Fine Arts (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was a member of the Baltimore Women's Symphony and the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra. She also provided violin instruction, wrote and produced musical shows in Baltimore, and was an art collector. In 2000, to recognize Patz for her efforts in acquiring works by Maryland artists for the university and for her family's financial contribution for the preservation and promotion of those artworks, part of the Maryland Artist Collection was renamed in her honor. The Doris Patz Collection of Maryland Artists includes approximately 200 works by such notable artists as John Blair Mitchell, Joyce J. Scott, John Bannon, Sam Gilliam, David C. Driskill, Jacob Lawrence, Perna Krick, Minda Hess, Ann Schuler, Steven Dobbin, and Grace Hartigan.
Among the highlights of the Maryland Artist Collection are large bodies of works by Baltimore artists Herman Maril, Gladys Goldstein, and Selma L. Oppenheimer. Maril, who has approximately 50 works in the collection, taught at University of Maryland, College Park for 30 years and had a national reputation as an artist.
Maril was one of the Maryland artists whom Bylee Massey had approached about exhibiting his works in the conference center, and he introduced her to his community of artists. After Maril's death in September 1986, the paintings on loan to the Arts Program became a permanent donation to the university by his wife, Esta Maril. UMGC now has the largest single collection of Maril's paintings, spanning more than 50 years of his career. In 2001, a gallery at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center was named the Herman Maril Gallery in his honor.
Gladys Goldstein studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), the Art Students League of New York, and Pennsylvania State University. She was an abstract artist who spent her life in the arts community of Baltimore. Her works are a reflection of her life, including her travels, and focus on nature, light, and space. UMGC became the recipient of one of Goldstein's paintings through a donation from an arts patron more than 20 years ago. According to Goldstein, at the time she preferred to sell rather than donate her works. However, shortly thereafter, Goldstein decided to give a painting to the university in memory of her mother. Marilyn Hart, a member of the acquisitions committee, offered her a gallery, and the committee began selecting works. Thus the Art of Gladys Goldstein collection was born.
Selma L. Oppenheimer was called "The Dean of Maryland's Women Artists" and is remembered for her long-lasting contributions to the Baltimore art community. She graduated from Goucher College in 1919 and went on to study costume design and portraiture at MICA. Her artistic career included painting portraits, landscapes, and Baltimore street scenes. Throughout her career, she continued to elevate her painting style by experimenting in different mediums. In 1989, the university and the Oppenheimer children, Joan Weiss and Martin Oppenheimer, established the Selma L. Oppenheimer Collection.
The Maryland Artist Collection also has substantial holdings by artists Raoul Middleman, Sy Gresser, William “Bill” Taylor, and Reini Maters.
To expand its Maryland holdings, in 2010 the university opened the Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard. The center is a 5,500-square-foot structure housing permanent exhibitions of sculptures, paintings, and drawings by Maryland artist Joseph Sheppard. The center also features a study center with more than 2,000 books about Sheppard and art in general.
Additional UMGC collections include the International and Asian Collections. The International Collection is composed of artworks by artists other than Maryland artists, including Kevin Cole (Atlanta, Georgia), March Avery (New York, New York), Ed Clark (New York, New York), Tim Davis (Fairfax, Virginia), Andy Warhol (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Victor Ekpuk (Nigeria, West Africa), and Kwabena Ampofo-Anti (Ghana, Africa).
The Japanese Art Collection began in 1986 when Yoshitoshi Mori donated two prints to the university. Trosper introduced Mori to the university and was the key figure in the negotiations for Mori's artwork. Over the years, the collection has become the largest of Mori's works in the United States. Trosper also was the first curator of the Japanese print collection and gifted a large portion of his Japanese prints and Balinese art collection to the university. Because of UMGC's excellent Asian Collection and its strong historical connection to Asia through its education programs for U.S. military servicemembers stationed in that part of the world, the university received a gift of ancient Chinese paintings and artifacts valued at $1.6 million from Maryland businessmen Thomas Li and I-Ling Chow in 2000.
As the Arts Program began to take root, it became apparent that the staff needed a body of art professionals, educators, activists, authors, artists, and collectors to assist with its development. In 1993, the Art Advisory Board was formed to provide professional advice and support to UMGC's Arts Program. At the time, the Board consisted of six members; now the board consists of 18 members. The Art Advisory Board assists in the identification and solicitation of gifts and grants from individuals, corporations, and foundations and also provides direction for the program.
The Arts Program at UMGC continues to flourish and develop more scholarly publications and lectures about art and artists to advance the mission of the program. From the research and study uses of the artwork in the collections to the teaching implications of all the exhibitions, the Arts Program plays an increasingly central role in the academic life of the university. For four decades, the Arts Program has been dedicated to cultivating and developing an impressive permanent art collection. This body of work also represents the university's commitment to collecting and preserving artistic treasures for the next generation.
For more than 75 years, UMGC has embraced a unifying mission—to provide affordable, accessible, and valued education to adult learners. The university's Arts Program drives this mission through the visual arts. UMGC hosts art exhibitions and showcases works throughout its headquarters and at other locations. This program not only introduces our students, staff, and faculty to the creative views of artists, it also serves as a way to give back to the community, advances the careers of local artists, and helps forge larger conversations about education and the many services available at UMGC.