83 Years and Counting: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection
Museums are defined by their collections and exhibitions. Each collection and exhibition has a unique point of view that is carefully shaped by curators, who are always mindful of historical precedents as they look ahead to future developments. The Abilene Fine Arts Museum (now The Grace Museum) began collecting art in 1938 with the stated purpose of collecting important works of art “for the good of the citizens of Abilene.” With the help of museum staff, board of directors, sponsors, and donors over the past 83 years, an outstanding collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs focusing on American art with Texas connections has evolved. In 2010, The Grace’s Exhibitions and Collections Committee focused on raising funds to grow the art collection through an annual Collectors Circle event. To date, this group has purchased 34 outstanding works of art recommended by the curator for the collection, many of which are on view in this exhibition. In addition, many of the artists featured in past exhibitions at The Grace have donated art to the collection and art dealers and estates have also made numerous generous gifts as well. In 2021, a new chapter for the art collection was achieved through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to digitize the collection and make it available to the public through an online searchable database on The Grace Museum’s website. The ongoing goal of collecting, preserving, and presenting the permanent art collection is an important part of the museum’s legacy to our community and beyond.