A 15 piece African Art collection was dedicated to the Grambling State University Art Department on Thursday, Oct. 16 from alumnus and an active member of the Black and Gold Foundation Wayne McConnell. McConnell has been collecting African Art since 1991when an interior designer working with his firm recommended the purchase of some tribal art to display in the reception area in his office. His first purchase of African Art was tribal spears, which later grew to different pieces such as mask and sculptures from different tribes, McConnell said that it was a way for him to get in touch with his roots.
When introduced to a owner of an art gallery in Houston, he became infatuated with the art. McConnell was impressed by the quality of the workmanship on the wood and ivory carvings and bronze casting. After establishing a relationship with the owner of the gallery and learning more about the ritual and ceremonial use of the art, McConnell said he became intrigued.
McConnell and his wife became interested in different tribes as their collection continued to develop. It was a joint decision when it came down as to where they should donate their collection, and there were no question that it would be at Grambling.
From working with the Black and Gold Foundation McConnell knew he wanted to do something big for Grambling.
Dr. Horace Judson, president of GSU, said he was proud and honored that someone was giving back to their alma mater.
The McConnell’s said this would be the first of many donations to the Art Department.
“Grambling never had African statues of this sort before,” said Donna McGee, chairperson of the department.
“I was able to touch an African artifact and it was an honor.” “It would be beneficial to let the students see a different culture through their art,” she said.