AMoA shines spotlight on collectors who've enriched museum's collection

Posted by Chip Chandler on

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

The very foundation of Amarillo Museum of Art will be celebrated in its latest exhibition.

Personal to Public: Celebrating Collectors, which opens Friday, puts the spotlight on art lovers who've shared their passion with the museum. It'll hang through July 2.

"This is an exhibition honoring those who have collected privately and given it over to the museum for public enjoyment and posterity," said Alex Gregory, AMoA curator of art.

Among the works to be celebrated include Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price's extensive collection of Asian art, on permanent display on the museum's third floor; Louise Nevelson's Moon Garden, a gift of the Area Arts Foundation in honor of co-founder Dord Fitz that's on view on the first floor; and seminal works like Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother with three children and Elaine de Kooning's portrait of President John F. Kennedy, donated by Steven W. Plattner and Mrs. Malcolm Shelton, respectively.

"We rely heavily on gifts rather than going out and making purchases like an encyclopedic museum is able to do," Gregory said.

Collectors benefit too, he said.

"When you get so involved in collecting, have a passion for collecting, you get a bug," Gregory said. "You really become really informed about everything.

"As you get older, rather than selling pieces off one by one that you had connected with over time, it's a nice idea ... to have your collection preserved in perpetuity so it can be enjoyed by your neighbors and friends and people who love art who might not otherwise have had access to it," he said.

That's one reason Amarillo arts philanthropist and collector Jim Jordan has donated works to the museum, including several that will be seen in this exhibition.

"It's no fun to be a collector unless you can share it," Jordan said. "I like to share my interests with people who can appreciate it. And I have no children, so I want to leave behind some kind of legacy." 

Public to Private examines the Amarillo aesthetic, Gregory said — which, like that of most cities, is "all over the place."

"We do have some strong collections, people who made good choices and were well informed," he said.

Here's a peek at what to expect:

Elaine de Kooning's portrait of President John F. Kennedy was donated to Amarillo Museum of Art by Mrs. Malcolm Shelton.
Courtesy AMoA

Dorothea Lange's iconic Dust Bowl photograph "Migrant Mother with three children" was a gift to Amarillo Museum of Art by Steven W. Plattner.
Courtesy AMoA

Franz Kline's "Red, Black and Orange" was a gift to AMoA by Mrs. Malcolm Shelton.
Courtesy AMoA

Louise Nevelson's "Moon Garden" was donated to Amarillo Museum of Art by the Area Arts Foundation in honor of co-founder Dord Fitz.
Courtesy AMoA





Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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