For several years, it has been standard practice for the Escalette Collection of Art, an academic unit of Wilkinson College, to include students in its acquisition process. Student input supports our goal of building a collection that can serve as an educational resource that is directly tied to students’ classes, research, and interests. It also helps students feel a sense of ownership of the “museum-without-walls” that surround them every day.

In the 2023-2024 academic year, the Escalette Collection continued its tradition of working with the Contemporary Gallery Practice (ART 325) class to have students research and propose an artwork to be acquired by the Collection. ART 325 is a unique opportunity for students to learn about gallery curation, exhibition planning, art criticism, and more. It also allows students to travel to visit galleries in Los Angeles, providing a hands-on learning experience. In the Spring semester alone, the students saw over 50 galleries and 25 exhibitions.

For their final projects, the students built on their experiences visiting galleries to select an artwork to propose to the Escalette Collection acquisition committee. This project helps students learn the ins and outs of how galleries sell art from the buyer’s perspective. They are responsible for communicating with gallery representatives, requesting a price list, and negotiating prices. As usual, their proposals resulted in thoughtful additions to the Collection that all of campus will enjoy for years to come.

Fall 2023

stylized image of people floating in purple and blue waves. Only their heads are visible.

Jasmine Little, Swimmers, oil on canvas, 2017. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

The Fall 2023 artwork selected by the acquisitions committee was Swimmers by LA artist Jasmine Little. During the semester, the students in ART 325 had the opportunity to do a studio visit with Little, where they learned about her painting and ceramic work. The student who proposed Swimmers as their final project felt inspired by Little’s use of color and form to create a sense of movement. To her, the fluid harmony between the figures reminded her of the Chapman community. While students may be on their unique journeys, following their own paths, their differences make Chapman a diverse yet communal place, connected by the shared intention to grow, create, and learn. 

“Throughout our visits to gallery and studio spaces, I have yet to find another artist who captivated my attention more than Jasmine Little did… I’m extremely grateful that this class provided us with the opportunity to meet Little and learn about her experiences and artistic processes firsthand.” – Lydia Wharton (Animation and Visual Effects major, Art minor ’25)

Spring 2024

colored-pencil outline of a cactus with hands sticking out from it. Background is black.

Samantha Roth, Cactus Hour, paper, black gesso, colored pencils, 2024. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

The Spring 2024 artwork selected by the acquisitions committee was Cactus Hour by LA artist Samantha Roth. The students in ART 325 were introduced to Roth’s work at Tyler Park Presents, a gallery on Sunset Boulevard owned by Chapman alumni Tyler Park. The student who proposed Cactus Hour for their final project was drawn to the artist’s exemplarity technique and how the colored pencil stands out against the black gessoed paper, revealing detailed cactus branches with hands sprouting from them. While this piece illustrates the transformative experience of motherhood, it also captures the feeling of being uncomfortable in one’s body or feeling one’s body change. This artwork will contribute to discussions of gender/sexuality, motherhood, and the body in classes throughout campus. 

“The process of proposing an acquisition to the Escalette Permanent Collection of Art was beyond exciting experience. It is rare as a student to have the opportunity to have a say in a piece that is added to my school’s permanent art collection and be displayed on campus for other students to enjoy. It was also a rare learning opportunity to learn how to communicate with galleries, search for art based on the given criteria for Escalette artworks, and negotiate pricing. I have yet to meet students from other institutions that have been given this opportunity, and I feel very grateful to have had this experience. Contemporary gallery practice, in collaboration with the Escalette, provided the invaluable experience to propose an artwork for acquisition.” – Natalie Teeter (Strategic and Corporate Communications major, Art minor ’25)

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.