The 2020 Collection Exhibition, Recent Acquisitions, highlights some of the works donated to Gadsden Arts over the last 3 years. Thanks to the generosity of nine donors, the Collection grew substantially in 2019. Sixty works of art were accessioned, a record number, bringing the total collection up to 172 objects. Fifty-four of these were additions to the museum’s Southern Vernacular Art Collection, featuring work by celebrated American artists such as Thornton Dial, Sr., Lonnie Holley, Mose Tolliver, O.L. Samuels, and Purvis Young.
Last year, a new artist was added to the Permanent Collection, a sculptor from Kentucky named Edgar Tolson, who, like other Vernacular artists in the collection such as Mose Tolliver, took up wood carving full-time after an accident left him unable to work.
The Permanent Collection includes an ever-growing visual repository of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and assemblage pieces. Cohesive subsets from the collection have traveled to other institutions, among them the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, NC; the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD; and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, FL; fulfilling the ethical obligation of a collecting institution to share this artwork with other communities.