Pearl River alumnus donation to offer cultural experience for students

POPLARVILLE, Miss – Pearl River Community College received the gift of culture through an alumnus’ donation of 5 famous artists’ pieces. 

Craig Griffing graduated from Pearl River in 1977 before continuing his education and entering the medical field. Griffing started his art collection more than 30 years ago due to an interest in history and art. It was through a visit to Pearl River’s Poplarville campus that his idea to share part of that collection with the institution began. 

“This institution grown so rapidly since my time here,” Griffing said. “I’m a donor, supporter and have been an art collector for over 30 years. The first time I walked into the Brownstone Center for a concert I thought ‘this needs some art.’”

Because of this visit Griffing decided take a few pieces of art from his collection to add to the cultural experience to which students at Pearl River would find themselves exposed.

“I want the students of south Mississippi to be exposed to true fine art and there is an old saying in the art world ‘every great institution deserves great art’ and I think PRCC is a great institution not only for Pearl River County but for all of South Mississippi.

“Art is not just painting pictures It involves advertising, interior decorating and multiple professions. If some of my art can help spark some of the students here to go into those various fields of artistic endeavors, I would feel grateful.”

Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association, Ernest Lovell Jr., pointed out the chance this would give Pearl River students to see art they would otherwise never expereince. He says he does not take this lightly and understands the imprtance of protecting this donation. 

“Craig came to us a couple of years ago because he had such a great experience at the college,” Lovell said. “He always had an interest in helping young people be successful and so he wanted to contribute back to the arts in this way. He has bestowed this gift to the college through the foundation and we are going to take care of it.” 

Griffing met with Lovell and Department Chair/Director of Brownstone Performing Arts Center Dr. Trevor Hunt to consider display options in the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts.

The donated art includes pieces by Rembrandt Van Rijn, Robert Indiana, Pablo Picasso and George Ohr. 

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

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