• Pink, blue, green, beigh art work.
    Image courtesy of Phillip Scholz Rittermann.
Wilkinson College

Art Collections

» The Escalette Permanent Collection of Art

Art is an integral part of the educational process at Chapman University. We take pride in giving our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to spend their days at Chapman surrounded by beautiful and inspirational works of art as they learn, discover and grow. As Chapman continues to grow in both size and reputation, we strive to remain faithful to the foundations of a liberal education in which seemingly disparate disciplines – like the arts and sciences — are interconnected partners in the pursuit of learning and discovery.

Chapman University and Wilkinson College is proud to be the home of the Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The collection is supported by an endowment established by the late Phyllis and Ross Escalette, and is comprised mostly of contemporary and modern paintings, prints, and sculpture. Rather than being housed in a museum or gallery, The Escalette Collection is displayed throughout the Chapman campus in hallways, public spaces, and study areas. The collection is free and open to the public to view.

Meet the Escalettes

Current Exhibitions


During Fall 2019, the Art Collections Department is participating in La Frontera / The Border: An Interdisciplinary Examination, a campus-wide interrogation of border issues, particularly those surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Border Click: Tijuana / San Diego

September 4, 2019 - January 15, 2020
Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Second Floor

blurred image of women so it looks like she has two heads 

"Borderclick is a digital living archive and curriculum exploring the complexities of the transfronterizx/transborder experience. From 2016–2019, groups of young people who live and study between Tijuana and San Diego have been using photography to deconstruct their daily aesthetic encounters and explore their identities on both sides of the border. This work is the combination of our conversations, documentation, research, and interviews with each other and other transborder people, as well as our dreams for the future." 

Image: Ale Uzarraga, Doble Identidad, 2016.

The Border: Selections from the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art

May 2 – November 17, 2019

Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room, Leatherby Libraries, Second Floor

kiefer artwork


Explore the poetic aerial landscapes of Mexican photographer Pablo López Luz; Spanish photographer Janire Najera’s conceptual triptych depicting a shimmering wall; photography by Tom Kiefer, a former custodian for the U.S. Border Patrol; and Hong Kong-born artist Bovey Lee’s papercut illustrating the experience of child migrants.

Image: Tom Keifer, With Makeup, inkjet print, 2018.


+ - What is the Art Collections Department at Chapman?

The Art Collections Department manages artwork on campus, including its installation, research, storage, and care, as well as organizing exhibitions and community outreach, and overseeing the Student Art Ambassador program. The department also handles donations and loans of artwork within the scope of Chapman's collections.

We are always happy to help with your questions about the art collections!  

+ - About the Phyllis & Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art

In 2009 a generous gift from trustee Ross Escalette and his wife Phyllis to name the permanent art collection set in motion a new era for Chapman as a center for art in Orange County. Because Ross and Phyllis established an endowment, the collection continues to grow, infusing Chapman’s campus with new expressions of color, form and vibrancy. 

Currently, the collection comprises more than 700 pieces. Though the collection does not necessarily have a specific theme or focus, there is a special emphasis on contemporary works of Southern California artists as well as African art, Russian iconography and prints by modern American and European masters such as Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and Nauman.

The Escalette Collection features a variety of media, such as drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media. Works of art from the collection are regularly utilized for exhibition, classroom and research purposes.

+ - Mission Statement

The Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art will enhance and enrich the intellectual life of the campus and the Orange County community. The purpose of the collection is to advance the community’s understanding and appreciation of human creativity and imagination. Through studying and celebrating the art of our time the Permanent Art Collection seeks to educate students, alumni, faculty, and friends about the crucial role art and artists play in society. The Permanent Art Collection will promote art and its appreciation by acquiring, managing, and preserving a collection consisting of both traditional and contemporary artworks in various media.

+ - Meet Our Student Art Ambassadors

Student Art Ambassadors are Chapman University students who act as liaisons between the collection and the student body, host tours and workshops for groups large and small, attend all collection events, and promote the arts at Chapman.

Last year, the program expanded to include five very talented students (below). Would you like to join the Art Ambassadors program? Contact us today!

student art ambassadors 2017