group of students in a classroom with an Olitski painting on the wall

Art for Access

Our Mission

Since the College’s beginning in 1932, gifts of art have enriched the Bennington campus and community both in the classroom and in the lived experience. Launched in 2018, Art for Access is an innovative philanthropic initiative that celebrates the College’s pioneering legacy in the visual arts while advancing its commitment to equity, diversity, and access.

Art for Access seeks to engage Bennington’s network of collectors, artists, alumni, parents, and friends by inviting donations of art to the College to benefit students by:

  • Developing and expanding the works of art in the College’s holdings, ensuring that works available for study are ever changing; and 
  • Generating scholarship funds, through the sale of select works on a regular basis, to further the College’s commitment to access, equity, and diversity.

Since our launch, the College has received gifts of more than 700 works of art and generated more than $6.2 million through the sale of select works to fund Art for Access scholarships to a range of talented and diverse students who came to Bennington from around the country and globe (as of Feb 2024).

History of Gifts of Art to Bennington

Since the College’s founding, alumni, faculty, and friends have contributed artworks to Bennington. The College now has holdings of more than 1,450 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and sculptures that have been donated over the years from Bennington’s extraordinary creative community, including works by Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Jules Olitski, Paul Feeley, Kenneth Noland, Anthony Caro, Tony Smith, Larry Poons, David Smith, Ansel Adams, Gary Winogrand, Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Lee Friedlander, and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Although the college has never had an art museum, Bennington acts as a steward of these generous gifts, loaning works to exhibitions, using them as teaching resources, displaying works in campus buildings. Bennington has throughout its history sought gifts of art for sale and sold works to benefit the College’s programs, all while honoring donor intentions. 

Art for Access now continues this tradition by expanding the resources available to make a Bennington education accessible. Since Art for Access was established, additional donations of art range from modern and contemporary works on paper by Romare Bearden, Mark Dion, Shepard Fairey, Howard Hodgkin, Ken Noland, Rufino Tamayo, and Hank Willis Thomas to photographs by Todd Eberle, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Doisneau, and Cindy Sherman, to paintings by Judy Ledgerwood and Jules Olitski and sculptures by Louise Bourgeois and Jeff Koons. 

Art for Access Committee

The Bennington College Art for Access Committee is comprised of alumni, trustees, friends, and faculty members from a range of visual art backgrounds—artists, collectors, curators, and auction house veterans—who help guide the program, serve as emissaries of the program in their networks, and help seek gifts of art. 

Art for Access Committee Members

Michael Hecht, co-chair
Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan '91, co-chair
Barbara Ushkow Deane ’51
Liz Deschenes
Andrea Fiuczynski ’85
Anna Gaskell ’92
Harold Koda
Lise Motherwell ’77
Will Ransom ’04
Ellen Safir ’66
Lincoln Schatz ’86
Anne Thompson

Connect with us

If you are interested in learning more about how to make a gift to Art for Access, contact Paige Bartels, director of the Art for Access program.

Paige Bartels headshot
Paige Bartels
Director of Art for Access & Senior Advisor for Philanthropy and Partnerships
Part time


Erin McKenny headshot
Erin McKenny
Art Collection Manager
Wilson B&G
Melissa smith headshot
Melissa Smith
Senior Assistant
More About Art for Access