Art to the People

Philanthropist Larry Bassett shares his collection with the the Lynchburg community.

Larry Bassett never thought he would become a patron of the arts. “I always imagined that was for rich people giving art to museums,” says the 71-year-old art collector and philanthropist from Lynchburg. But after a recent exhibit from Bassett’s collection of more than 100 works by notable local artists — mostly oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings and some sculptures — at Riverviews Artspace in downtown Lynchburg, where he resides, he Bassett decided his efforts shouldn’t end there.

“I’m not an artist, but my sister was and my father realized a lifetime dream of doing watercolor art when he was 90,” says Basset. “When I found myself at Riverviews surrounded by art and artists, I felt quite at home.”

Kim Soerensen, executive director of Riverviews, suggested Basset take his art “to the people” and exhibit in area non-profit organizations. “I loved her idea and immediately made a list of local human service organizations that I have supported in the past,” says Bassett, a longtime political activist.

The exhibition Art to the People is on display at the Lynchburg Department of Social Services, Rush Homes, the Arc of Central Virginia, Miriam’s House, Daily Bread on Clay Street and the YMCA on Church Street, with works rotating among these locations.

And as of now, no end is in sight for Basset’s exhibit. “Both of my parents lived into their 90s so I figure I will be doing Art to the People for another 20 years, or so,” he says. Riverviews.net

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