Permanent Collection


The Sweet Briar art collection comprises more than 3,700 objects from a variety of countries, historical periods and media. It has grown since the 1930s through the generosity of individuals and the Friends of Art, a philanthropic group of alumnae and College friends dedicated to the presentation of visual arts on campus. A catalog surveying work by female artists in the collection, Women Artists of the Twentieth Century (introduction by Rebecca Massie Lane; essay by Diane D. Moran), is available. Call (434) 381-6547 or email [email protected] for rights and reproduction information or to order a copy of the catalog.

Collections Management Policy (click for PDF)


Ethics Policy (click for PDF)


Conservation Prorities (click for PDF)


Vision and Mission (click for PDF)


Acquisitions Statement

The Sweet Briar College Art Collection and Galleries maintain a permanent collection of original works of art as well as artifacts and some archival documents. These include paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, artist-made books, manuscripts and incunabula, sculpture, archaeological material, and architectural drawings, models and plans. The collection’s focus has historically been works that support the art history and studio art curricula. In recent years an active collecting focus has been modern and contemporary female artists.

The strength and usefulness of the permanent collection will reside in the scope and quality of the objects acquired. The Art Gallery director and her/his advisers will seek for the collection original objects of exemplary artistic significance that 1) support the mission of the Art Gallery and the College; 2) illuminate the history of the visual arts as well as notable modern and contemporary trends; and 3) address the complexity of human creativity in a variety of visual media. Active areas of collecting include painting, graphic arts (prints and drawings) and photography. Both historic objects and the work of living artists fall within the collection’s scope. While sculpture, ceramics and new technological media are not excluded from active collecting efforts, limitations of storage and display space, long-term care issues and staff and faculty expertise must be factored into all acquisition decisions.

The extant collection’s boundaries also encompass Native American and Pre-Columbian Latin American artifacts and some Classical Greek and Roman material. The Art Gallery staff also cares for plans, drawings and models associated with the College’s historic campus, paintings inherited from the school’s founder and the work of students and alumnae accumulated primarily as campus decoration. However, while the Art Gallery staff cares for this archaeological, archival and decorative material, these are not active areas of collecting.

The Permanent Collection (Click on the exhibition title to open a PDF of the annotated checklist.)

116 (2017)
Set/Repeat/Multiply: Artworks in Sequence (2016)
In the Shadow of Paul Mountain (2016)
Art for the People: Propaganda and Public Service (2016)
The Art of Collecting: The 20th Century (2015)
Recognizing Excellence: Selected L.D. Pannell Prize Recipients (2015)
Central and South American Pre-Columbian Artifacts (2015)
Greek and Roman Artifacts (2010/2014)
Greek and Roman Coins (2014)
A Beautiful Buiding, Spacious and Well Designed (2014)
Exploring the Visual Experience (2014)
Student, Teacher, Mentor, Friend (2014)
Gesture, Mark, and The Artist's Hand: Drawings from the Collection (2013)
Familiar Friends (2013)
Sweet Briar Creates III: Student Print Exchange Portfolios from the Studio Art Department (2013)
Material, Method, Medium: Intaglio and Relief Prints from the Permanent Collection (2013)
ASIA: Selections from the Permanent Collection (2012)
Sweet Briar Creates I: Early Professors and Friends (2012)
The Body Politic (2012)
This Green Earth: Landscapes from the Permanent Collection (2012)
Gods and Monsters: Images of Faith and Horror (2011)
People, Places, and Things: Some Recent Acquisitions (2011)
Abstract Thought: Selected Prints from the Permanent Collection (2011)
Unbuilt Sweet Briar
Body Image: Pose, Expression, and Identity (2010)
Color Block: Contemporary Prints and Drawings (2010)
Art/Art History: Selections from the Permanent Collection (2010)
Language Arts: Images, Words, and Stories (2009)