Established in the early 1950's and now near 700+ individual works in number, the Permanent Collection of Art is comprised of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional work in all media. Included in the collection are a large body of original prints and works on paper by 20th century Modern European and American artists such as Robert Motherwell, Larry Rivers, Dieter Roth, John Piper, Tom Phillips, Patrick Caldwell, Piero Dorazio, etc. (gift of the Ackermann Foundation, 1980); a large body of photographs from the 1970's and 80's by famed photographer and former Chattanooga resident Rosalind Solomon (on extended loan from the artist); works by distinguished alumni such as Barry Moser, Robin Hood, and Jack Denton (gifts of the artists), artists with local and regional ties such as Lillian B. Feinstein, Leonard Baskin, Frank Baselitz, Lamar Dodd, and Edward Shorter (various sources); and art faculty past and present such as E. Alan White and George Cress (University Purchases).
Recent gifts to the Collection include photographs by contemporary Chinese artist Gao Lei (gift of the artist, 2010); a body of works by American graphic designer and illustrator, and former Department of Art Head, Weimer Pursell (gift of the Pursell Family 2006); a selection of original polaroids and gelatin silver prints by Andy Warhol (gift of the Warhol Foundation 2006), a large screenprint by Doris Leeper (gift of Kurt Stagmaier, 2009), and George Cress "Bright Day" 1981, acrylic on canvas (gift of Ms. Alice Blank, Savannah, Ga., 2008).
Monumental public sculpture can also be viewed on the campus of the University: John Henry "Sky Toucher" 1986, painted steel (gift of William and Ruth S. Holmberg, Chattanooga, Tn); Henry Moore "Upright Motive No. 8, 1955-56, cast bronze (gift of Citizens Interested in the Fine Arts, Chattanooga, Tn); and Victor Contreras "The Hands of God" (gift of the McKee Family, College Dale, Tn.).
Collected works on paper and canvas, fibers work, and small 3-dimensional works are rotated for temporary display in many of the University's public spaces and exhibited periodically in the Cress Gallery. This portion of the Collection will move to a state of the art archival facility in the new campus library currently under construction.
Plans are underway towards the enlargement of the campus's outdoor public art collection.