This July 4th, the Escalette Collection applauds the many generous artists, galleries, and individuals who make our country a better place. In response to the hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the suffering of countless known and unknown victims of racial injustice, artists around the globe have moved beyond statements of solidarity to actions that directly benefit the most severely impacted communities. Artists from our own collection have donated money from sales of work to Covid-19 relief funds, food pantries and community centers, and to advocacy for peace and justice.

Inspired by the many artists using their work to support Black Lives Matter, Julie Shafer auctioned a print from their new series, “Parting of the Ways.” This body of work was photographed in Idaho along the Oregon Trail at a location used for centuries by indigenous peoples to communicate with each other. White settlers later recorded their own names over petroglyphs, creating a poignant visual record of westward expansion in the United States. The Escalette Collection was honored to acquire this print, and have the proceeds donated by the artist to the Summaeverythang Community Center, an organization that provides free organic produce boxes to Watts and South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Julie Shafer, A. Freeman, 11 x 14” silver gelatin fiber print, 2020. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

Since 2015, Patrick Martinez has been re-envisioning Pee Chee folders to memorialize victims of police violence. In response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Martinez released an unlimited edition print Racism Doesn’t Rest During a Pandemic Pee Chee (No Justice No Peace).  With the support of Charlie James Gallery, these are being sold to benefit a number of social justice organizations including Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the Black Trans Protesters Emergency Fund. The Escalette is pleased to add this work to our existing collection of four Pee Chee prints by Martinez.

“With these works my intention is to cement these people within the context of my art at the same time memorializing them. In America’s history, only presidents and “important” people would have portraits painted of them, scenes cast as bronze sculpture or statues etc. They won’t do that for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery so I want to do it myself so that these happenings and people are not forgotten.” – Patrick Martinez in interview with Hypebeast 

Patrick Martinez, Racism Doesn’t Rest During a Pandemic Pee Chee (No Justice No Peace), Unlimited edition, 4 color offset folder print, 2020. Gift of Lindsay Shen

To support Chapman’s Black Student Union and The Bail Project, Lia Halloran created a new print featuring the Friendship spacecraft, which launched John Glenn into space as the first American to orbit the Earth. Like much of her recent work, this print honors the contributions of a woman scientist. Katherine Johnson, one of three black students to integrate into the graduate math program at West Virginia University in 1939, was responsible for the equations behind the launch. We look forward to adding this print to our other work by Halloran celebrating women in the sciences.

Lia Halloran, Friendship Launch, after Katherine Johnson, 11 x 14” silver gelatin cliché verre print from painted negative, 2020. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

Seann Brackin, whose joyful abstract work is exhibited in multiple locations on campus, organized a digital exhibition of the work of 115 quarantined artists, as a means to reflect on our abruptly disrupted reality, mourn what we have lost facilitate unity and healing. The exhibition was dedicated to the world’s healthcare workers. Read more here: campus

Seann Brackin, Cuarentena: Madrid, España “Connected,” 50 x 80 cm, oil and graphite on canvas.

A country’s strength lies in the awareness, generosity, and kindness of its people. This July 4th, we celebrate the artists whose actions allow us to dream of a better future.

We invite you to explore all the works in the Escalette Collection by visiting our eMuseum

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. The collection is free and open to the public to view.