The Sonoma State University Art Collection, established shortly after the University Art Gallery opened in 1978, originally held a few hundred paintings, prints, and sculptures donated by local area art collectors, including Dr. Steven Asnis and Sidney and Dorothy Garfield. Over the ensuing decades, the collection has grown significantly and now numbers over 1,500 works in a range of media, all of which have come to SSU through the generosity of individual and corporate donors.
Selections from the collection are regularly featured in exhibitions at the University Art Gallery, and are displayed throughout campus in venues such as the Green Music Center and Salazar Hall. The collection is a valuable teaching tool for Sonoma State, serving students in classes including museum studies, art studio, art history, history, and cultural resources management. The collection is curated and cared for by the University Art Gallery faculty and staff, under the purview of the Art & Art History Department.
The SSU Art Collection continues to grow through donations which are reviewed and approved by University Art Gallery faculty and staff, and the university's Campus Art Committee. The collection is maintained in part by an endowment, which the Art Gallery seeks to increase in order to fully meet the needs of the collection's care.
Highlights of the SSU Art Collection can be explored below. In addition to works by renowned modern and contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Kara Walker, and Salvador Dali, the collection also includes more than 400 artworks from the Imagery Estate Winery Collection donated in 2015 by the Benziger Family Winery; an impressive collection of Mexican prints donated by SSU Professor Emeritus Tony White; a large body of photography including documentary works by Sonoma County photographer Morrie Camhi; and many other outstanding works.