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Hendrix Celebrates African Art Collection of Former Chaplain

CONWAY, Ark. (November 15, 2013) – More than 150 museum-quality African artwork are now part of the permanent art collection at Hendrix College.

The exhibit was donated by the family of the late Rev. Jon Guthrie, a 1956 Hendrix graduate. The artwork was on long-term loan to the College from the early 1990s until Rev. Guthrie’s death in 2012.

Rev. Guthrie served as Hendrix Chaplain from 1969 until 1996. Following his retirement, he served as special advisor to the president from 2002 until his death in November 2012.

Guthrie collected artwork from French-speaking Africa during his service as a United Methodist missionary. His missionary work began in 1959 when Zaire, then known as Belgian Congo, declared its independence.

“Jon’s years as a United Methodist missionary in Zaire influenced his view of the world and stimulated his love of art,” said Hendrix Chaplain Rev. J. Wayne Clark.

The exhibit includes drums carved in the likenesses of tribal chiefs, ebony water jars, thumb pianos, and wooden relief sculptures recounting an African version of the Last Supper. Many pieces in the collection were made by local artists Guthrie knew personally.

A brief ceremony recognizing the gift and honoring the Rev. Guthrie’s memory is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19 in the Mills Library on the Hendrix campus.

The African art exhibit is on display in Mills Library in the Mills Social Sciences Center. The exhibit is open to the public when Mills Library is not reserved.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit