University Art Collection

yellow and black metal abstract artwork
Wheel of Fortune, 1976, Gordon Newton (1948-2019), gift of James Pearson Duffy, 1992

The Wayne State University Art Collection (UAC) is used to educate, inspire, foster creative thinking and promote the advancement of social and cultural leadership. Founded in 1968, the collection has grown to include almost 7,000 works of art today.

The collection showcases many Detroit artists and includes the most comprehensive collection of work by Detroit's famed "Cass Corridor," a counter-cultural art movement that flourished through the WSU community during the mid-1960s and late 1970s. Many artists in this collection have become some of the most prominent visual artist to emerge from Detroit and are important contributors to the international conversation on contemporary art.

Works from the collection appear throughout the WSU campus inside signature buildings, libraries, the medical complex, meeting rooms, the President's office and residence, and on the university's malls and lawns. Works of art are integrated into public spaces on and around campus, enhancing the everyday lives of people on campus and in the surrounding community.

The collection is utilized in a variety of ways for cross-disciplinary research, teaching, and experiential learning.

The UAC includes:

men with Arabian headdresses seated around a table
Members of Mawtini Dance Troup, 2019, Farah Al Qasimi (b.1991), commission supported by Knight Foundation grant, 2019
  • Works by Detroit-based and regional Michigan artists from the mid-to-late 20th century and 21st century
  • The over 2000 works from the James Pearson Duffy collection and the estates of John Hilberry & Andronike Tsagaris and Susanne F. Hilberry, along with a wealth of archival materials, makes Wayne State University the center for research on Detroit "Cass Corridor" art
  • Arthur C. Danto Master Print Collection
  • A large collection of late 20th c. contemporary prints, sculptures and paintings by nationally and internationally known artists from the Eugene Applebaum collection (exhibited at the Applebaum Pharmacy Building)
  • Artworks by Wayne State University faculty and alumni
  • Large-scale public sculptures
  • A growing body of work by African American artists including Romare Bearden, McArthur Binion, Tyree Guyton, Carole Harris, Jacob Lawrence, Alvin Loving, Jr., Charles McGee, Howardena Pindell, Shirley Woodson Reid, Rashuan Rucker, Hughie Lee Smith, Gilda Snowden, Larry Walker and Peter Williams
  • Works by major artists and exemplary works by lesser-known artists

Features of the UAC

Online Art Collection and Digital Resources

Our online collection is a resource for scholarship and provides students with an authentic hands-on experience with art. Many of the works include student written essays allowing them the opportunity to conduct research on art, to write about it, and have their work published online.

Online Exhibitions, Educational Activities and Picture of the Week

Undergraduate and Graduate Art, Art History and Arts Administration students are provided experience in research, writing and career development opportunities in curation and collections management through the development of online exhibitions, educational activities and weekly essays using works from the collection.

University Art Collection Tours

Anyone on campus or visiting Wayne State is welcome to arrange for a tour of selected works in the University Art Collection, including works that are on display indoors, by contacting Grace Serra at (313) 577-9264 or


28 large scale public sculptures can be found installed on both the main campus and medical school campus. A self-guided walking tour called ArtWalk focuses on monumental sculptures.

Personal tours can be arranged by contacting Grace Serra at (313) 577-9264 or


Grace Serra
Art Collection Curator for the University Art Collection