William James College Art Collection
Visitors of William James College will find a curated art collection of over 100 pieces throughout the building. From modern oil on canvas to ancient cultural artifacts, the art represents the work of many cultures through a variety of artistic styles.
The curation process began in 2003, when Alan Beck, then dean of the Department of Clinical Psychology, and a group of faculty and staff chose 20 pieces from The Art Connection, a Boston-based organization that provided artwork to local nonprofits.
Beck continued to serve as the school’s art curator until his retirement in 2018. Marc Abelard, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Workforce Development, then took over the responsibility. Abelard continues to add art to the collection that best reflects the school’s priorities of diversity, inclusion, and social justice that extend throughout our curricula and advocacy work within our communities. He also works with local organizations to establish partnerships to host galleries on campus.
Below are five of Abelard’s favorite pieces from the collection and background information on the pieces that he has provided.
Antonio Laviolette - Fifth Floor
This painting was donated in recognition of a successful partnership between William James College and the Haitian community following the 2017 Haitian Art Festival held on campus. In the spirit of gatherings, the bowl of fruit portrays the sense of togetherness and bonding through the experience of sharing a meal.
Chinese Scrolls - First Floor
These ancient scrolls capture the essence of storytelling that has been handed down through generations. Their meticulous design and artistry are symbolic of art from the culture. A gift from the Beck family, the description explains that this scroll would be presented as a birthday greeting, wishing the recipient maturity, wisdom, and long life.
After Oswaldo Guayasamin - Third Floor
A social justice stance against oppression, this painting shows two malnourished Ecuadorians. Using pronounced bone structures, misshapen bodies, and bold colors, the painting demonstrates the harrowing experiences of this marginalized group. This piece is part of a collection donated by the family of Cynthia Lucero, the namesake of the Latino Mental Health program.
Power of Love during the Darkest of Time - Third Floor
This painted door tells the story of an indigenous mother and daughter suffering domestic violence abuse. At the bottom of the door, the woman is murdered during a violent encounter. The middle painting is meant to reflect the spirit of the mother as she watches over her daughter. Finally, the top represents the child’s rise from this trauma as a strong and beautiful woman. This painting was a gift to the College from Dr. Gemima St. Louis, associate vice president for Workforce Initiatives & Specialty Training.
Veterans Center Quilt - Fourth Floor
This quilt stitches together the collective feelings of a parent and child impacted by the parent going to war. Using quotes, and images, the piece reflects the healing effort from the trauma faced during a veteran’s combat experience.