Institutional News

Art for Access Receives Significant Art Donations

Bennington College announced that it has received gifts of 122 works of art in the past year to benefit Art for Access, an innovative new program launched last year to support scholarships and provide educational opportunities for students by inviting new donations of art to the College. Art for Access celebrates the College’s pioneering legacy in the visual arts while advancing its commitment to equity, diversity, and access.

chairs grouped around a table and art on the wall

“We are grateful to all the donors – alumni, trustees, friends, parents, former faculty – who have chosen to support Art for Access and our effort to bring a Bennington education to more deserving students,” said Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan ’91, Bennington College trustee and co-chair of the Art for Access Committee. “I am personally thrilled to donate works from my mother's collection that I know will both enrich the campus and benefit our effort to raise scholarship funds.”

“We are delighted by this highly successful first year, and we hope that our success will be a strong base for future gifts,” said Michael Hecht, also a Bennington College trustee and co-chair of the Art for Access Committee. 

The 122 works of art that have been given to benefit Art for Access in the past year range from modern and contemporary works on paper by Romare Bearden, Mark Dion, Shepard Fairey, Howard Hodgkin, Ken Noland, and Hank Willis Thomas to photographs by Todd Eberle, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cindy Sherman, to paintings by Judy Ledgerwood and Jules Olitski and sculptures by Louise Bourgeois and Jeff  Koons. The gifts include some 100 works gifted by Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan ’91, from the estate of her mother, Melva Bucksbaum. Melva Bucksbaum served as a Trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art for nearly two decades, was a prolific art collector and philanthropist, and was deeply devoted to educational causes. 

“When we launched Art for Access last year we could not have imagined the generosity and support we have received from so many in the Bennington community. It’s a testament to the College’s enduring legacy in the arts, our commitment to bringing incredible resources to our students, and to making Bennington accessible to all students,” said Paige Bartels, Senior Vice President for Strategy, Philanthropy, and Partnerships

“As part of our longstanding commitment to arts innovation and our ongoing efforts to develop creative funding models, this program is a natural extension of the College’s mission,” said Isabel Roche, Interim President of Bennington College. “We are delighted to sustain the momentum we began last year and to give even more students access to a Bennington education.”


Artwork in Commons

Many of the new works donated to Art for Access will be displayed in the classrooms, dining rooms, and public spaces in the newly renovated Commons building. The building will also have on view notable works by faculty and alumni, including Paul Feeley’s Jack sculpture, restored instruments from Gunnar Schonbeck, as well as works by Helen Frankenthaler ’49, on loan from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York. 

Commons is one of the first original buildings on the campus and served as a nexus of American arts and culture, especially in the mid-twentieth century: Helen Frankenthaler painted under the tutelage of her mentor Paul Feeley, Bob Dylan performed, Martha Graham premiered one of her legendary dance pieces, and Gunnar Schonbeck built his instruments. In its blending of academic, dining, and recreational spaces, Commons embodies the learning that happens in and out of the classroom and across disciplines that is a hallmark of a Bennington education.



Through a partnership with the international auction house Christie’s, the inaugural Art for Access sales in fall 2018 raised more than $3.1 million for scholarships.

Bennington will continue this partnership with Christie’s again in 2019 to sell several works to sustain the effort to raise funds for Art for Access scholarships. This fall’s Art for Access sales at Christie’s will feature the following nine donated artworks:  


  1. Anthony Caro, CCLIV, 1975 (steel sculpture)

  2. Adolph Gottlieb, Chimera, 1946 (painting)

  3. Robert Motherwell, Sea Lion with Red Stripe, 1959 (painting)

  4. Richard Serra, Circuit, 1972 (pencil on paper)

  5. Anne Truitt, Morning-Moon, 1969 (painted wood)

  6. Larry Poons, Untitled, 1974 (acrylic on canvas)

  7. Amy Cutler, Gamering, 2005 (gouache on paper)

  8. Hank Willis Thomas, Where the Flavor Is…, 2012 (screenprint)

  9. Leonardo Drew, Number 128D, 2009 (wood, acrylic and thread on paper)