California State University Long Beach has accepted 80 of my paintings and 90 of my drawings into their permanent collection. This collection, as well as my literary works, which include my published books, my journals, and manuscripts dedicated to the muses in my life, will be permanently archived in the university art museum. The museum is now named the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum. The museum will be undergoing a renovation, which will include a gallery to exhibit my art, a David Campagna Print and Drawing Room, and my donation will endow scholarships for the College of the Arts, a multi-disciplinary lecture series, and cutting-edge programming at the museum.
For me, a profound circle has magically manifested. When my parents, S. Mark and Amelia Taper, came with my family to this country from England, we first stayed for six months at the Biltmore Hotel in Long Beach, and later my father began building his extensive housing for veterans in that area. So, now for my life’s work to be part of the Long Beach community is a destiny fulfilled.
In commenting on my gift, University president Jane Conoley stated, “Our entire campus community, as well as our surrounding communities and the art world at-large will benefit as a result of Ms. Kleefeld’s extraordinary generosity and foresight. Her impact on California art has been nothing short of remarkable and we are delighted that the art museum will be part of her lasting legacy, as well as provide us with the opportunity to showcase her inspirational work and that of other notable artists.”
“Our goal at the University Art Museum is to promote a nuanced interpretation of museum exhibitions and collections and provide an opportunity for students and the public to deepen their understanding of the complex role art plays in culture,” College of the Arts Dean Cyrus Parker-Jeannette said. “Ms. Kleefeld’s exemplary gift provides us with the ability to exceed that goal. It will allow us to highlight her career and impact, better share the work of extraordinary artists, and expose our communities to important and powerful works.”
“As I reflect on the impact of this gift, I am struck by this anonymous quote, ‘When courage, genius and generosity hold hands, all things are possible,’ Ms. Parker-Jeanette said. “The generosity of Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld’s gift, both of her art and financial support provided, is a game changer for our museum. It is transformational for the future and spirit of our exhibits and will inevitably deepen the experience for our students, faculty, community and scholars who visit.”
As I express in my artist statement, ultimately art is an innocent interactive mirror of my innermost process, whisking me out of time into the Timeless. My life’s passion is to create art from this unconditioned well of being and to inspire such a journey in others. Thus, to have my art and writing in an institution of higher education is a dream being realized, and my aspiration is for the students and visitors to the university to embark on their own journeys of inner discovery and creative expression, learning from my own experiential explorations.