Fairfield University to display 40 pieces from Brandywine Workshop

Photo of Amy Coval

Pieces from a Philadelphia art workshop will soon be on display at a Connecticut museum. 40 works from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives have been acquired by the Fairfield University Art Museum to be prepared for exhibition. Founded in Philadelphia in 1972 by artist Allan Edmunds, Brandywine provides community engagement, local arts programming as well as sponsors residencies for well-known and undiscovered artists alike.

Fairfield's newly acquired works are a part of Brandywine's initiative to place "satellite collections" in university art museums across the nation. According to a press release, these collections are intended to, “bring the art of diverse cultures to institutions and communities that wish to enrich or diversify existing collections.” Fairfield University is the only Brandywine satellite collection in Connecticut, and is one of only 18 satellite collections in the United States. The university joins the Harvard Art Museums and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. among other institutions with Brandywine satellite collections. 

Works in the collection date from the 1980s to today. A press release stated the majority of pieces are done by BIPOC artists, with over 50% of pieces done by female artists. Artists such as Adger Cowans, Janet Taylor Pickett, Eduardo “Choco” Roca Salazar and Larry Walker are among the new collection at the university.

In 2021, Fairfield University Art Museum created the Black Art Fund, which the university said was meant to "address the lack of diversity in its permanent collections." The fund is dedicated to the acquisition of contemporary works by Black artists and was used to finance the satellite collection from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives. The fund was first used to purchase art from Black artists last year, which were some of the first non-donated pieces in the museum's permanent collection. Support for the Black Art Fund comes from both financial contributions as well as donations of "museum-quality artwork."

The museum's exhibition focusing on the works from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives is planned for fall 2024.