Why Collect? – The 2023 Kenneth W. Rendell Endowed Lecture

Date: 14 June 2023
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: UVA Special Collections
Lecturer: Walter O. Evans - Celebrated Collector of Frederick Douglass and of African American Art

Walter O. Evans retired as a surgeon in Detroit, Michigan to his place of birth, Savannah, Georgia in 2001. Shortly after he began his surgical practice in 1976, he began collecting African American art.  During the following 25 years, Evans would go on to collect more than 400 original paintings and sculpture. In 1991, he and his wife Linda established a traveling exhibition of approximately 80 of these works, which journeyed to more than 50 museums throughout the U.S. over 15 years. In addition to collecting art, Evans collected first edition books, manuscripts, letters and documents related to the African American experience. These original letters and documents include the original papers of Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, James Weldon Johnson, and others. In 2004, Evans and his wife donated approximately 70 works of art to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art. During his talk, Evans will discuss how his early life experiences in the Navy, college, medical school, and a surgical residency led him to a later interest in art, books, manuscripts, and letters.

You are invited to watch the recording of last year’s Rendell lecture via our RBS YouTube channel.