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Art gallery receives donations for permanent collection

November 16, 2011 : Liberty University News Service

These paintings will be part of the university's permanent art collection.

Liberty University received a gift of six paintings by professional artists on Wednesday that are the start of Liberty’s permanent art collection.

Two of the artists presented the pieces to Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife, Becki, in the Liberty University Art Gallery.

“We are deeply grateful for the thoughtfulness of these local artists and I believe it will be the beginning of a major collection here at Liberty University,” Falwell said.

The artists include David Heath, Lois Virginia Babb, Rodney Laughon, Kathy Seek, Charlie Turner and Diane Johnson. They are all regional artists who are Christians and whose works have been collected nationally and internationally for private and corporate collections.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife Becki Falwell with artists Lois Virginia Babb and David Heath.
Professional artists Lois Virginia Babb and David Heath presented the pieces to Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife, Becki, on Wednesday.

Lois Virginia Babb donated her work, “Tiger Lilies,” a still life, in honor of her grandmother. She is a member of the Blue Ridge Plein Air Painters and represented the other artists who were unable to attend the presentation.

“We really are supporting the growth of this department. It’s an honor for us to see you filling a need in the art world for traditional art training,” Babb said.

David Heath, who has shown his work at Liberty’s gallery before, presented his painting, “Entering the Valley,” a beautiful fall scene of the Shenandoah Valley painted from the Skyline Drive. Also a member of the Plein Air (which means painting outside) group, Heath said it was a privilege to have his work help start Liberty’s permanent collection.

“I’d love to see the department grow here because I know there’s a void with the art field in universities and colleges as far as traditional art and Christian art,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to share something that’s pretty much taken a lifetime to build up to this point and to be able to share with students and possibly encourage them to look deeper into their goals and what they can accomplish.”

Heath and Babb have joined many of the artists in doing demonstrations and lectures with students from Liberty’s Department of Studio and Digital Arts.

“We are all Christians and I think we all have had the opportunity to witness through our work, and that’s one thing I’m hoping the students will learn … that they’re learning a skill and have been given a gift that will help to glorify God,” Babb said.

Babb and Heath both said they have recommended Liberty’s program to potential students.

Todd Smith, director of the Studio and Digital Arts department, said he plans to have the paintings displayed at different times throughout the year.

He said the start of a permanent collection is significant for the school.

“It helps our academic side when you have a collection because students get to see original artwork on the wall — they can literally see the technique, the brushstrokes … and learn what’s involved in being a professional artist.”