There are four distinct and distinctive permanent art collections in the Library, supplemented by a temporary visual art display which changes each semester. Those permanent collections are the Gary Collison ceremonial dancing mask collection, the David Breeden stone sculpture collection, the Darmaximus collection of fine art, and the Caldwell collection of contemporary art.
Collison Mask Collection
The Collison mask collection, donated by the family of one-time faculty member and Pulitzer Prize nominee Dr. Gary Collison (American Studies), is a collection of 30 hand carved masks from Mexico and Guatemala. The masks are worn by dancers in elaborate ceremonial rituals and festivals such as Carnival and The Day of the Dead, in which they act out a cultural legend or morality rite such as virtue triumphing over evil. Masks typically represent an animal, the devil, or a human, with human faces being almost all male. These are carved from a variety of woods, and can be elaborately painted and decorated. Some have hair features, fashioned either from real animal hair or a hemp-like plant fiber called sisal. Many of these masks were authentically used in dances, though some were made specifically for the tourist trade. A notebook that describes each mask in detail, plus the ceremony in which the mask is used, is kept at the circulation counter and may be browsed upon asking.
David Breeden was a creative artist from Charlottesville Virginia, whose work was primarily sculpted stone. His stone sculptures are typically abstract or representational, and range from functional works, like gurgling fountains, to tabletop pieces to large scale installations. David was a firm believer in his art being public, and worked to get his sculptures placed in parks and buildings in many U.S. and international settings. The Library had acquired two of his tabletop pieces in the mid 1980s, then gained an additional 11 pieces for display in 1991 when Breeden designed and created the two large sculptures situated outside the Grumbacher IST building. Another stone sculpture of Breeden’s is in the main lobby of the Romano building. The thirteen sculptures in the Library, plus the other three on campus, are either alabaster or soapstone. Several soapstone pieces show the influence of the sculptor’s time spent in African countries. Many of Breeden’s sculptures have smoothly contoured lines which invite touching, which the artist would have certainly encouraged and did proclaim that his art was meant to be seen and to be touched.
Darmaximus Collection of Fine Art
The Darmaximus collection of fine art is on long-term loan to the Library from a private local art collector who prefers to remain anonymous, but who wishes that the art in his collection be seen and appreciated. The 24 pieces in the collection are displayed on walls throughout the Library on both floors, and all showcase the talent of local and regional artists. A variety of different media can be seen in these works, including oil, acrylic, pastel, and collage.
Angela and Andrew Caldwell Contemporary Art
The contemporary art of Angela and Andrew Caldwell, both of whom are campus employees, and both of whom are graduates of the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, features works that showcase a variety of styles, techniques, and materials. This collection includes pieces both donated and on loan. Visible behind the circulation counter is a series of cast ceramic sculptures, and these are complemented by somewhat similar mixed media sculptures in the reference area. Also in the reference area displayed on several walls is a series of abstract designs done in acrylic on wooden panels. Another piece in the collection is a hand woven wall hanging behind the circulation counter.
We feel indeed fortunate to have this much art within the Glatfelter Library, and are delighted that we can make it publicly available. It contributes significantly to the ambiance and visual atmosphere of the environment, and is one of the many reasons for users to visit the Library.