12/31/15 - Ongoing

Beginning in fall 2015, Economics professor Stephen Sheppard and WCMA curator Kevin M. Murphy taught the biennial course, Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Art for WCMA. In the class, students visited galleries and auction houses to locate works of art that aligned with the museum’s collecting priorities and had a predicted monetary value greater than their asking price. Students presented their works to WCMA’s staff, and the museum purchased those deemed most important for the collection at the best price. The course was last offered in fall 2023.

Over one hundred students took the course, and WCMA purchased nineteen works of art. The objects proposed by students have greatly enhanced the inclusivity and diversity of WCMA’s collection.

Professor Sheppard passed away in March of 2024. A selection of objects purchased through the course are installed throughout the museum, in his memory. These works form a small part of Steve’s enduring legacy of teaching, research, and mentorship at Williams.

Art acquisitions and the class trip to New York were possible due to the Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts.

Esteban Cabeza de Baca

b. 1985, San Diego, California

Medanales Golondrinas


Acrylic on canvas

Museum purchase, Fogg Fund. Proposed by students in the course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Objects for WCMA, Fall 2023


Ralph Iwamoto
Born in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii (present-day State of Hawai‘i); studied, lived, worked, and died in New York, New York

Lowly Splendor
Oil on canvas

Museum purchase, Karl E. Weston Memorial Fund. Proposed by students in the course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Objects for WCMA, Fall 2023

Brendan Lee Satish Tang
Born in Dublin, Ireland; lived in Nanaimo, Canada; studied in Halifax, Canada and Edwardsville, Illinois; lives and works on the unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam Nations (Vancouver, Canada)

Manga Ormolu 2.0-s

Ceramic and mixed media

Museum purchase, Karl E. Weston Memorial Fund. Proposed by students in the course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Objects for WCMA, Fall 2023

Naudline Pierre
Born in Leominster, Massachusetts; studied in Berrien Springs, Michigan and New York,
New York; lives and works in New York

Acrylic, ink, and chalk pastel on paper, in a patinated steel frame made by the artist

Museum purchase, Joseph O. Eaton Fund, Wachenheim Family Fund, MacDonald Fund, Fogg Fund. Proposed by students in the course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Objects for WCMA, Fall 2023


Allison Janae Hamilton
(b. 1984)
Born in Lexington, Kentucky; lived and worked in Florida and Tennessee; studied, lives, and works in New York, New York 

Alligator Creature
Foam, sola wood, marble, bracken fern, resin, and paint

Single channel video with sound

Museum purchases, Karl E. Weston Memorial Acquisition Fund
M.2022.3.2 and M.2022.3.1

Alligator Creature and Wacissa are strong as discrete objects, and are stronger still when working together. They are not beholden to one another, but each is emboldened by the other’s presence. Wacissa is an opening into the netherworld where Alligator Creature lives. In tandem, Wacissa and Alligator Creature represent a cross-section of Hamilton’s practice; they elucidate the collaborative and intertextual relationship between objects created in different media.

Jannat Arora ’23, Armanis Fuentes ’22, Carolyn Kim ’22, Yuchan Kim ’24, and Manolis Sueuga MA ’23

Guadalupe Maravilla
(b. 1976)
Born in San Salvador, El Salvador; studied in New York, New York; lives and works in New York

Disease Thrower #10

Gong, steel, wood, cotton, glue mixture, plastic, loofah, and objects collected from a ritual retracing the artist’s original migration route

Museum purchase, Fulkerson Fund for Leadership for the Arts

Maravilla’s work is an exploration of and a healing mechanism for the trauma of his childhood migration fleeing the civil war in El Salvador and his adult battle with colon cancer. Both are explored simultaneously through a combination of a wide range of materials and found objects that reflect Indigenous and pre-colonial knowledge, contemporary political commentary, and personal history. The gong in Disease Thrower #10 can be played in the artist’s sound bath performances, which seek to throw disease out of the body through its healing properties and auditory activation, healing both the viewer and the performer.

Nick Beischer MA ’23, Hailey Han ’22, Javier Robelo ’22, and Semra Vignaux ’24

Mildred Thompson
b. 1936, Jacksonville Florida
d. 2003, Atlanta Georgia

Advancing Impulses
Oil on fabric mounted to vinyl

Museum Purchase, Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts and Karl E. Weston Memorial Fund

Mildred Thompson was a pioneering Black LGBTQ artist, thinker, and educator whose practice encompassed painting, printmaking, sculpture, music, and photography. Thompson said of her compositions that “there are symbolic things that have to be learned to make work universal … you can’t limit who you communicate with … But you have to know yourself. Everything I touch will be part Black and female—all my success and the things I have gotten are part of that.”

Minsuh Choi ’23, Olivia DeMuth ’23, Kailyn Gibson ’22, Delaney Keenan MA ’23, Emily Neuner ’22, and Lina Wang ’24

Jungjin Lee
(b. 1961)
Born in South Korea, lives and works in New York City

Opening #13
Archival pigment print on Korean mulberry paper

Museum purchase, Karl E. Weston Memorial Fund

“I don’t portray landscapes or nature,” says Jungjin Lee. “The desert makes me see my inner self clearly and my aim is to make images of what I feel there—my inner state of mind, the eternal sense of being open and present. Lee also prints on distinctive Korean mulberry paper, which blurs edges, creating ambiguity for the viewer as to the image’s true media. We believe that Lee’s photograph intersects with classes in the new Asian Studies concentration, as well as courses in Environmental Sciences and the history and practice of photography.

Margot Berman ’22, Mira Kamat ’23, Adrian Moeller ’24, Cole O’Flaherty ’22, Kiley Wallace ’23


Kay Walkingstick
b. 1935, Syracuse, New York

Sun Dance
Acrylic and wax on double layered canvas

Museum purchase, Kathryn Hurd Fund

Williams is located on the traditional homelands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. The college community has recently sought to explore aspects of Indigenous American experience through courses and programs. We believe that WCMA needs to collect more work by Indigenous Americans, and this painting by Walkingstick, a member of the Cherokee nation, demonstrates tension between abstraction and representation, as well as traditional and contemporary artistic practices.

Victoria Liu ’21, Tiffany Tien ’20, Nelson Walsh ’21, and Benjamin Ward ’22

Thomas Albert Sills

b. 1914, Castalia, North Carolina
d. 2000, New York, New York

Oil on canvas

Museum purchase, Otis Family Acquisition Trust

Summer is a work that sits right at the cusp of gestural abstraction and post-painterly art. It is representative of the 1950s shift in the practice and theory of Modern art-making. Indeed, Summer signals both backward and forward in time along the trajectory of Abstract Expressionism. As a Black artist, Sills struggled against racism by choosing to work in abstraction, which was seen as the nearly exclusive purview of white men.

Bobby Beniers ’21, Kathryn Freeny ’20, Vijay Kadiyala ’20, and Kohen Rahman ’22

Bill Traylor
b. 1854, Benton, Alabama
d. 1947, Montgomery, Alabama

Bug [Boll Weevil]
c. 1939
Colored pencil on cardboard

Museum purchase, Otis Family Acquisition Trust

Trailer was born enslaved on a plantation in 
Alabama, and after Emancipation remained on the property as a sharecropper. In 1909, the boll weevil devastated crops in Alabama, forcing him and many tenant farmers off the land. Throughout the college there is a heightened level of interest in animal studies and posthumanism, motivated by the pressing issue of climate change forcing humans to interrogate our relationship with the natural world.

John Damstra MA ’20, Emily Ham ’22, Kevin Silverman ’20, and Hannah Trager ’20

Martín Ramírez
b. 1885, Jalisco, Mexico
d. 1960, Auburn, California

Untitled [Black and White 
Caballero No. 7]
c. 1950-1955
Graphite and tempera on paper

Museum purchase, Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts

Martín Ramírez is considered one of the 
self-taught masters of drawing in the 20th 
century, a symbol of the Mexican immigrant experience, and an inspiration for Latinx artists and writers in the United States. A cross-border artist who produced his work in a transnational, marginalized and institutionalized third space, Ramírez’s work features traditional subjects from his past as well as modernist elements.

Cooper Bramble ’20, William Cozadd ’21, Catherine Powell ’22, and Madeline Wessell ’20

Torkwase Dyson
(b. 1973)
Born in Chicago, Illinois; studied in Tougaloo, Mississippi, Richmond, Virginia, and New Haven, Connecticut; lives and works in Harlem and Newburgh, New York

In the Middle of the Ocean (Water Table)
Acrylic, pastel, ink on canvas

Museum purchase, Kathryn Hurd Fund


Marie Spartali-Stillman
b. 1843, Middlesex, United Kingdom
d. 1927, London, United Kingdom

A May Feast in the House of Folco Portinari, 1274

Watercolor on paper mounted to panelMuseum purchase, Karl E. Weston Memorial Fund

Spartali-Stillman occupied a unique place in the art world as a female artist and intellectual amidst the male dominated and misogynistic culture of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, and the Cornish Art Colony in New Hampshire. She was a prolific artist who created some of the most imaginative work of the late Pre-Raphaelites.

Spencer Allyn ’20, Krista Gelev ’18, Kennedy Kim ’19, and Alex Zilkha ’20

Gordon Alexander Buchanan Parks
b. 1912, Fort Scott, Kansas
d. 2006, New York, New York

Willie Causey, Jr. with Shotgun During Alabama Violence
Ilfochrome print

Museum purchase, Otis Family Acquisition Trust

This photograph embodies what the Gordon Parks Foundation calls his “ability to honor intimate moments of daily life despite the undeniable weight of segregation and oppression.” Parks’s images of Alabama caused a stir throughout the United States after Life Magazine published them as A Segregation Story. The print is one of only three made by Parks himself, after the negative was thought to have been lost.

Jack Coyne ’19, Caroline Hogan ’18, Gene Hong ’20, Brendan Rosseau ’19, and Emma Santucci ’19


Hermann Fuechsel
b. Braunschweig, Duchy of Brunswick (present-day Germany)
d. 1915, New York, New York

Keene Valley, Adirondacks
Oil on canvas

Museum purchase, Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts

Keene Valley, Adirondacks is a depiction of an epic American landscape. Painted at the end of Reconstruction, it can be read as a meditation on the difficulties of national healing after the Civil War. The painting is in pristine condition despite its age, and retains its original frame, both of which make it a rare find in the market.

Dana Hogan ’16, Lillian Celestia Lancaster ’17, Kanishka Malik ’16, and Samantha Polsky ’17

News & Press

Yuchan Kim, WCMA displays purchased artworks requested by students in ‘Acquiring Art for the WCMA’ course, The Williams Record, May 4, 2022