Passion and Patronage: Select Gifts from the Gerald Mead Collection

Image credit: Cindy Sherman (b. 1943), Untitled (Under the WTC), 1980/2001, gelatin silver print, 7-1/2 x 5-9/16 inches, Promised gift of Gerald Mead, Jr.

Exhibit:  April 12, 2020 – June 29, 2020
Reception:  April 25, 2020 — 5:00pm - 7:00pm


Passion and Patronage: Select Gifts from the Gerald Mead Collection consists of a selection of artworks from a major gift of 58 works, in all media, by 46 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists from the collection of noted Buffalo, New York art collector and patron Gerald Mead.  The works in this gift were selected from Mead’s collection of over 1,400 artworks for their suitability for the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University’s collection and their ability to enrich the educational mission of the museum.

 The role of private collectors, exemplified by Mead, in supporting the arts is paramount to the strength and integrity of our artistic heritage and integrity of the creative process.  This exhibition emphasizes, in a very tangible manner, the process by which “private” artworks eventually become “public,” a vital component in the building of museum collections.

 Mead, described by the Buffalo News as “a guiding and indispensable figure on the Western New York arts scene,” was influenced by prominent collectors and art museum patrons including Armand and Eleanor Castellani, Seymour Knox and Charles Rand Penney. With regular visits to museums and galleries in the region, Mead fortified his understanding of art as well as his familiarity with many of the artists whose work builds our own regional art history. Collecting for well over thirty years, Mead has refined his well-practiced connoisseurship of visual culture—actively lending and donating to public institutions, and hoping to inspire others by his example. The student has become the teacher and the circle of cultural sustainability continues. 

 This generous gift includes artworks by significant contemporary artists not represented in the museum’s collection as well as works by artists represented in the collection with the intention of broadening the range and depth of their careers in the museum’s holdings. An exhibition, featuring all the artworks in the gift, will be presented in 2022 accompanied by a full catalog. Above and beyond the generosity of this superb gift, Mead has also endowed Niagara University with the Gerald C. Mead, Jr. Scholarship in Art History with Museum Studies.

 Mead’s enduring passion for the arts and his longtime and continued patronage of the Castellani Art Museum and Niagara University are most greatly appreciated. We hope that this exhibition, his recent appointment to serve on Niagara University’s Board of Advisors and his inaugural membership in the newly launched Castellani Art Museum Legacy Society can begin to reflect our appreciation for his continued service to the Castellani Art Museum and Niagara University.