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Liberty dedicates newly donated painting collection

President Jerry Falwell and his wife, Becki, stand with donors Rebecca Thigpen Coulter and Dr. Troy L. Day and Day’s wife, Pauline, in front of a painting of the Resurrection of Christ.

Liberty University dedicated its new collection of paintings, focused on the life of Christ, in the Montview Student Union’s Alumni Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 28.

The paintings, valued at more than $1 million, were donated to the Liberty University Permanent Art Collection in honor of Dr. Troy L. Day and in memory of the late Alton H. Thigpen. (Thigpen has a grandson, Garrett Thigpen, who is currently a student at Liberty.)

The 20-piece collection of massive oil on canvas paintings (most are 7-by-5 feet with some as large as 11-by-7) were created by artist Robert Wilson Sr. beginning in 1963 and focus on the life of Christ.

Day and Thigpen, both from North Carolina, initially purchased about 10 paintings and were so moved by them that they commissioned the artist to complete the visual story of Christ.

President Jerry Falwell welcomed Day and Rebecca Thigpen Coulter, Alton’s wife, to campus and shared his appreciation for the generous donation.

(Photo by Leah Seavers)

“This is such an exquisite collection of artwork,” Falwell said. “Looking at these paintings, one can feel Mr. Wilson’s passion as he created them. We are blessed to have this collection here, to be shared among the Liberty University community.”

Todd Smith, director of the Liberty University Art Gallery, expressed his thanks for the “amazing contribution” to Liberty’s art collection.

“This donation is one of the most significant collections of artwork dealing with the life of Christ in the region and probably the nation,” Smith said. “It is also one of the most significant gifts of art to a university art collection in the region that will be a lasting memorial to the donors for years to come.”

The ballroom is open for public viewings most Wednesdays during the semester from 2-4 p.m.

Read more about the paintings and the donation.

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