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A Beacon to the World: Art from the Sylvia Smith Lewis ’74 and Byron E. Lewis Sr. Collection

February 23–September 22, 2024

This special installation celebrates the recent donation of artwork from Sylvia Smith Lewis, class of 1974, and her husband, Byron E. Lewis Sr. Lifelong supporters of Black artists, the Lewises built a major collection of modern and contemporary art. Unlike the majority of collectors and museums in the United States—who, until recently, ignored or marginalized work by Black artists—the Lewises have always championed the immense creativity and talent of these artists whose friendship they enjoyed and whose art they collected. 
Featuring more than twenty works in a variety of media, this installation includes works by Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Betty Blayton-Taylor, Fred Brown, and Richard J. Watson. It celebrates the Lewises’ vision as collectors and recognizes the trust they have placed in each of us—staff and visitors alike—to care for, and learn from, these works in perpetuity. 
From May 7 to September 8, 2024, an additional artwork from the Lewis Collection, Dox Thrash's Standing Nude (ca. 1939–1941), is featured on the museum's third floor in Worlds in Process: Art from the SCMA Collection.

This installation was supported by the Suzannah J. Fabing Programs Fund.