Arts

Walters Widow Donates Coveted Art Collection to Howard U.

The widow of internationally renowned scholar and activist Ronald Walters is gifting Howard University with her coveted collection of African American art, valued at more than $2 million.

Patricia Turner Walters’ gift in honor of her husband’s legacy includes 152 pieces of African American art of various forms. The collection, valued at $2,519,950, also includes original pieces, sculptures, rare prints, photographs and pieces from notable eras, including the Harlem Renaissance.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this generous gift of precious art from the Walters family,” said Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick. “This collection of sculptures and portraits and paintings will be an excellent complement to our gallery and a beneficial focus of training in our art history courses.”

Ronald Walters (Courtesy of howard.edu)
Ronald Walters (Courtesy of howard.edu)

Walters, who was recognized as a leading political strategist and expert on issues affecting the African diaspora, served for 25 years as a professor in Howard University’s Department of Political Science and was department chair for nearly a decade.

At the time of his death in September 2010, Walters was preparing to return to Howard University as a senior research fellow and lecturer.

“Dr. Walters was a giant among scholars here at Howard University, nationally and internationally, and this endowed chair is designed to be a reflection of his unique history as an activist, a political strategist and a trailblazing academic professor,” Frederick said. “This gift comes at the perfect moment to expand our students’ involvement in the political conversations of our time.”

Patricia Walters began her collection in the late 1980s, amassing most of her pieces after 2002. The collection, dear to the Walters family, became a notable part of the couple’s collective legacy as people in their community reveled at the collection over the years. It features artists such as Robert S. Duncanson, Edward M. Bannister, Grafton Tyler Brown, Aaron Douglas, Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden, as well as contemporary artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Barkley Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall and others.

“I could not be more delighted about the decision to give my art collection to Howard, the institution that my husband cared so deeply about,” Walters said. “I always knew I wanted to do something like this to honor my husband’s legacy, but I never imagined that I would get to see it happen in my lifetime. I am grateful to President Frederick for working with me to make this possible. I could not be happier.”

The university will also establish the first Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics to continue Walters’ legacy of expanding the University’s capacity as a leader in emerging scholarship in Black politics. The chair will be housed in the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University.

More information about the art collection and endowed chair will be available during the spring semester. For more information about Ronald W. Walters, go to the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center website.

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