BP’s Lafayette office recently made a major donation of local artwork to the University of Louisiana's Hilliard University Art Museum.

The collection began in the 1960s with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) under the direction of artist, Herbert Bayer. The contemporary work was not only meant to enhance the corporate spaces in the building, but to encourage creativity in their employees.

Comprising work of many Louisiana artists, the pieces are a reflection of 1980s contemporary styles. The collected works are varied and includes art of abstraction, modernist figuration, and neo-mannerist surrealism. The assorted nature of the collection displays the diverse culture and population of Louisiana.

The artwork includes paintings, drawings, and prints from local contemporary artists like Janet Fish, Robert Gordy, Ida Kohlmeyer, Elemore Morgan, Jr., Jesse Poimboeuf, and Robert Warrens. The museum plans to preserve the artwork in its permanent collection and utilize in future exhibitions. Selections from the ARCO collection have previously been on display in the University Art Museum at University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1992.

BP decided to donate the artwork to the museum rather than selling off the individual pieces. They felt the donated collection would help promote local artists and the southern Louisiana community. “This is a tremendous addition to our permanent collection,” said Mark Tullos, Director of the Hilliard Museum. “Our collections are held in trust for this community and the people of the state of Louisiana and we deeply appreciate this most generous gift from British Petroleum.”

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