Springfield businessman and philanthropist Guy Mace donated a remarkable collection of art and artifacts to Missouri State University art and design department.
The collection includes African masks, figurative wooden rods, and ceremonial knives and spears from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, along with Native American, Asian, and Oceanian masks and headdresses.
Dr Billie Follensbee, professor in the art and design department and curator of the art history collections, said the impact of the gift is almost priceless. “This builds on Mr. Mace’s past generosity and dedication to the study of African and Oceanian art,” Follensbee said. “We believe this is the largest donation of museum-quality art and artifacts in the history of the state of Missouri.”
The new collections will be housed in the archives of the Meyer Library, courtesy of Thomas Peters, Dean of Libraries for the State of Missouri. “These items are an excellent addition,” Peters said. He noted down the library’s plans for special display cases and adapted lighting, so that the exhibition comes into its own.
Students of art history and museum studies will soon make use of this gift by investigating the history and context of the new pieces. According to Follensbee, “Mr. Mace’s generosity stems from his desire to see and study these pieces.”
Missouri State President Clif Smart recognized the importance of the donation to both student research activities and the university’s public affairs mission. “We are honored that Guy has entrusted us with this collection and we are excited about the possibilities it offers,” said Smart. “It’s part of our commitment to the cultural life and understanding of our community.”
A preliminary exhibition of the new collection is planned for late fall or early spring.
Dr. Shawn Wahl, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said such events are a defining part of the state of Missouri. “This is one of the reasons we are a destination campus for the arts,” Wahl said. “We are grateful to donors like Mr. Mace who recognize and support this mission.”
About the art and design department
The Missouri State Department of Art and Design is the largest and one of the most diverse state-funded art and design departments in Missouri. It is committed to providing quality curricular and extracurricular experiences to develop culturally aware, independent-thinking and imaginative leaders by educating the next generation of creative thinkers in the visual and liberal arts, and preparing individuals for careers in the arts , graphic design, illustration , art education and art history. The Department is furthermore committed to increasing student and community understanding of and engagement with the visual dimensions of culture, serving the University and the wider community through the Exhibition center for studentsthe Brick City Gallery and other public venues and joint service activities.