The Fairfield University Art Museum presents new pieces by contemporary black artists

“I just think it’s important that our collection reflects our community,” Weber said. “And right now, our collection doesn’t do that.”
Thanks to this fund, the museum recently acquired two new pieces by black artists.

The first is “Cardboard Slave Kit, Abolitionist Blend DIY” by artist Roberto Visani. The piece is designed to be taken apart and reassembled multiple times, a feature Weber says is perfect for a museum centered on education and collaboration.

“I had a great conversation with Visani, and he said he imagined it wouldn’t be something that would be painstakingly put together by a technician, but rather it would be put together in community, by a group in conversation about work,” says Weber.

The second piece is “Peaceful Protesters: Nina Simone II” by Afro-Latin artist Roberto Lugo. The piece is a ceramic mug with a gun part as the mug handle and a portrait of artist and activist Nina Simone. The piece featured in the “Roberto Lugo: New Ceramics” special exhibition, on view at Bellarmine Hall Galleries at Fairfield University through December 18. The mug will remain at the museum as part of its permanent collection.

Lugo was in Connecticut during Hartford’s gun buyback program in 2019. He acquired some of these gun parts and created art around them, which the Fairfield University Art Museum has agreed to display in its current exhibit, according to Weber.

Prior to these purchases, nearly all of the 2,000 works of art in the museum’s permanent collection were donations, according to Weber, and the museum does not have a permanent budget for acquisitions.

The museum is currently exploring options that would help expand its collection of works by non-white people, including accepting donations of museum-quality artwork or funds that can be used to purchase artwork.

The museum launched the fund earlier this year with $20,000 and would like to raise $40,000 in additional funds by the end of the year. So far, the museum has raised $25,000 in donations, according to a press release.

“I’ve only been the director for less than three years, and I felt it was time for us to start. Funds were really the problem,” Weber said. “I just decided to start somewhere. and that was how I was going to do it. It felt like the time had come and taking a small step forward was better than no step forward.”

Mildred D. Field