The Visual Arts and Design Faculty is actively engaged in the assembling and organizing of a Teaching Collection of art work that has been donated to the TP/SS Campus from art collectors and artists. The collection was started in 1999 by Sandra and James Fitzpatrick who generously donated a significant number of art works by prominent Washington artists to the Takoma Park Campus of Montgomery College.
The Sandra & James F. Fitzpatrick Washington Collection has grown as the Fitzpatricks have donated additional works in subsequent years. Another Washington art collector, Vivienne Lassman, in support of the Fitzpatrick donation, decided to donate numerous works of art by Washington artists from her personal collection. In addition, when the Visual Arts faculty notified the artists individually that their work had been donated, several expressed willingness to make additional donations in the future. A significant collection of African Art was donated to the department by Frank and Bridget Erwin in 2004. The Visual Arts faculty use the work as a teaching tool that benefits students by exposing them first hand to the art work that well known artists have created.
The first exhibit of the collection organized by Joyce Jewell and Wilfred Brunner was held in March and April 2000 in the Gallery of the Pavilion of Fine Arts followed by the exhibitions of the Lassman Collection and the African Art donated by the Erwins. The opportunity for students to see and experience these works of art in the relaxed familiar setting of the campus art gallery is very unusual in a community college setting. It emulates the teaching collection at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, which is an important facet of that college’s art program. The collection now has its own dedicated curatorial area in The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center.