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

Escalette Collection of Art

» The Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art

statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter

The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. Its core mission is to enrich Chapman’s campus with relevant works of art that inspire a powerful cross-pollination of ideas. The fostering of diverse ways of knowing the world that is at the root of Humanities learning, is manifested in the Escalette’s curated exhibits, classroom outreach, and public programs.  

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross 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 functions as a "museum without walls" where artwork is displayed throughout the Chapman campus in hallways, public spaces, and study areas. The collection is free and open to the public to view.


Current Exhibitions

Begin/Again: Marking Black Memories

August 31, 2020 - May 30, 2020

Virtual Exhibition
Physical Exhibtion Coming Soon! 
Ivan Forde, Morning Raid
Image: Ivan Forde, Morning Raid, Cyanotype and thread, 2017.

Creativity After Combat

February 3, 2020 - Janurary 1, 2021
Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Second Floor

Artistic rendering of green hills, and a central explosion of lines, guns, and rectangles.

This exhibition honors veterans, past and present, and explores the unique ability of visual art to capture aspects of the veteran experience. Creativity After Combat brings together work by well-known World War II veteran artist John Paul Jones, and prints created from the testimonies of veterans recently returned from conflicts around the world. This dialogue between past and present illustrates the capacity of art to reflect on, document, and express diverse experience.
Image: Yvette M. Pino, In the Light You Will Find the Road, Intaglio print, 2012.

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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.

Meet the Escalettes

 The Escalette Permanent Collection of Art was founded with the belief that 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.


Searching the Collection on eMuseum

There are several ways to navigate our eMuseum website.

  1. On the home Collections page, we have created a few groupings of objects to represent the collection, including medium, New Acquisitions, Currently on View, and Featured. We plan to continue adding more groupings as we investigate new themes and artists in our exhibitions and on-campus collaborations.
  2. Another option is to use the left-hand menu. These icon buttons allow you to search by Collection, People (in our case, artists), Exhibitions, and MyCollections.

Creating your own Collection is simple; just click on the folder icon on the left-hand menu and type in your collection name. Every object on eMuseum has a "add to MyCollection" button; to add an object to your collection, simply click this button and the object will be added automatically. 

Digital Exhibitions

Creativity After Combat 

February 3 – August 21, 2020
Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Second Floor

This exhibition honors veterans, past and present, and explores the unique ability of visual art to capture aspects of the veteran experience. 

Digital Exhibition Includes:

- All artwork and labels on display including an exhibition layout map
- Pictures from all exhibition-related events
- Recording of lecture by Yvette M. Pino

La Frontera/The Border: An Interdisciplinary Examination 

May 5 – November 17, 2019
Various locations on campus

During Fall 2019, Chapman University embarked on a campus-wide interrogation of border issues, particularly those surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Digital Exhibition Includes:

- Artwork, extended labels, and catalogue text from all 4 art exhibitions including installation     images and an exhibition layout
- Pictures of almost all La Frontera/The Border- related events including video recordings of      lectures
- List of resources for migrants, undocumented individuals, and anyone wishing to help those    communities

The Great Icon: Chapman University's Collection of Russian Icons 

Born-digital exhibition and catalog, 2018

Digital Exhibition Includes: 

  • Introduction to history, function, and iconography of Russian Icons 
  • Full catalog of Chapman University's collection of Russian Icons with annotations 
  • Stories and first-hand accounts of the icons' provenance 

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Journeys Along the Old Spanish Trail

February 1 – June 6, 2017
Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Second Floor

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Journeys Across the Old Spanish Trail is an artistic project combining photography, video, and sound by Spanish artist Janire Nájera who has explored the Spanish legacy along the Old Spanish Trail.

Virtual Exhibition – this site allows you to virtually walk the halls of the Henley Galleria. Along the way, you can click on individual pieces of art that you would like to view more closely.

Previous Exhibitions

9/4/19-1/15/20 | BorderClick: Tijuana/San Diego | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum

Digital Exhibition 

5/2/19-11/17/19 | The Border: An Interdisciplinary Examination | Leatherby Libraries 

Digital Exhibition

2/28/19- 9/20/19 |  New Looks: Recent Acquisitions from the Escalette Collection | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum

Exhibition organized by Haley Teves '20
Blog Post

9/27/18-1/31/19 | Remembering War in Southern California | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum 

Exhibition organized by Chapman University's MA Program in War and Society Studies

2/5/18-7/13/19 | Interplay: Music and the Escalette Collection | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum 

Exhibition organized by Professor Susan Key’s Honors “Sound and Spirit” class
Blog Post

9/13/17-1/5/18 | My Barrio: Emigdio Vasques and Chicana/o Identity in Orange County Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum, Guggenheim Gallery, North Cypress Street 

Exhibition Catalog 

2/1/17-6/27/17 | Moving Forward, Looking Back: Journeys Along the Old Spanish Trail | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum 

Virtual Tour of Exhibit 
Blog Post

8/28/16-1/2/17 | Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum 

Blog Post 
Blog Post - Papercut Panel 

7/18/16-8/14/16 | The Emblematic | Guggenheim Gallery 

Gallery Blog Post

2/1/16-6/1/16 | 1:1 Pairings from the Escalette Collection of Art | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum 

Blog Post 

7/20/15-9/8/15 | Paths and Edges: Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of the Escalette collection | Guggenheim Gallery 

Blog Post 

2/1/15-6/1/15 | To Arms: The Western Front 1914-1918 | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum

Digital Commons Documentation

1/15/15-8/18/15 | Hidden Treasures: Art from the Permanent Collection of Orange County Colleges and Universities | John Wayne Airport 

OC Registrar Article 

9/1/14-1/5/15 | Rare Gold: Selections from the Chapman University Collections | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum

Exhibition organized by the Escalette Collection of Art and the Huell Howser Found Art Collection

2/2/14-7/31/14 | Stalin's Russia: Visions of Happiness, Omens of Terror | Henley Galleria, Argyros Forum

Exhibition Catalog

Escalette Collection Staff

The Escalette Collection of Art staff manages artwork from the Escalette Collection on campus, including its installation, research, storage, and care, as well as organizing exhibitions and community outreach, and overseeing the Student Art Ambassador program. We also handle donations and loans of artwork within the scope of the Escalette Collections.

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

Escalette Collection Staff

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? Apply today!

student art ambassadors 2017