Creating a Destination for African Art

Hodges couple holding piece of African art.

Having joined the Peace Corps and spent 18 years living and working in Africa, Reggie and Celeste Hodges’ love for African culture and art is undoubtedly substantial. 

Over the years, Reggie visited 35 of Africa’s 54 countries, and he and Celeste assembled a unique and varied collection of more than 600 artifacts comprising housemade carvings, textiles, masks and household items. Now back in the United States, the Hodges are donating their collection to art museums focused on education, one of which being the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill.

“When we retired, one of the things we set as a priority was to focus on art, and that meant being a part of the art community and helping all of the museums in that area,” Reggie said. “Each museum has a different character, and the character of the Ackland is unique. They have a real dedication and commitment to the arts and are doing a lot with limited resources.”

The Hodges were also drawn to the Ackland because of how the Museum uses its exhibitions for education and because of its focus on increasing minority attendance.

“We went into the Peace Corps to do our part to make the world a better place,” said Celeste. “By not selling the art and instead giving it to cultural institutions, especially museums and archives that will preserve it, we’re still making the world a better place.”

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