ETSU’s Reece Museum secures $65,000 grant

Published 10:43 am Monday, July 24, 2023

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The Reece Museum has received $65,000 in grant funding from the Henry Luce Foundation to support “The Sammie L. Nicely Collection: Black Appalachian & African American Art Project.” Named for artist Sammie L. Nicely, this growing collection of post-modern and contemporary art explores Black imagery and themes, representing a variety of media and forms.
The museum received 50 artworks from Nicely’s personal collection in 2021 and since then has been actively collecting additional pieces that support Nicely’s legacy as an artist and educator, advancing cultural awareness and promoting the arts in his native region. This funding will further support research and contextualization of the artworks housed in the collection, generate opportunities to engage the public and develop programming that enhances understanding of the art and the artists represented in the collection.
The Sammie L. Nicely Collection has grown to include 140 works, 83 of which are on exhibition in “An Exuberant Spirit: The Sammie L. Nicely Collection.” Contributions by Nicely’s friends, family and patrons, along with donations from the region, are helping the museum build this significant collection of African American art that highlights diverse Appalachian voices and perspectives. As the collection continues to grow, these works will provide opportunities for community partnerships and unique educational experiences, furthering Nicely’s goal to “see the beauty in diversity.”
ETSU is home to a vibrant arts community, hosting dozens of concerts, exhibitions and performances throughout the year.
“The Luce Foundation’s generous support of the Reece Museum’s work provides an opportunity to engage artists, scholars, curators and our community and will result in the development of resources that we will be able to share with anyone who is interested in this collection of art and the meaning it holds for our region,” said Rebecca Proffitt, museum director.
The goals of the project are to develop further exhibitions featuring curated selections from the Reece permanent collection and continued development of the museum’s collections portal and digital media content. In addition, the project will include educational programming that will feature lectures, workshops, panel discussions and gallery tours. An oral history collection and a weeklong art camp in June 2024 are also planned.
“Sammie Nicely was an outstanding Appalachian artist who consistently demonstrated how art can bring together people of all backgrounds. We are so pleased to see the Nicely Collection continuing his legacy and are thankful to the Luce Foundation’s support of this important effort,” said Dr. Ron Roach, director of the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services.

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