Background, Mission and Vision for the Mott-Warsh Collection
The MWC is a privately owned, publicly shared collection of art from the second half of the 20th century. The majority of the works are by African American artists supplemented by works from artists of the African diaspora or which reflect upon it. They include both two and three dimensional works, sculpture, photographs, videos and mixed media.
The collection was initiated in reaction to the loss of arts in the schools and the limitations common in many mainstream arts institutions (whether by capacity, interest or ability) to collect and present art by and about African Americans and to reach out beyond their physical walls to new audiences. These circumstances served to underline the urgency of finding new ways to bring art to citizens of all ages first in Flint, Michigan but also beyond it.
Together this couple, Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh, chose to address the situation beginning in late 2001 by designating Flint as the home of a collection that would bring highly important but seldom seen works to the broader community, embedding it both in and beyond the institutions of the Flint Cultural Center.
Maryanne, born and raised in Flint, has continued to return to her original home community for over 40 years to serve on the Boards of her parents’ foundations, continuing a long philanthropic tradition in this town and beyond. A lifelong educator, Herman came to Flint in the 60s to head up the Charles S. Mott Foundation’s Flint programs and continued to return as well in service of both family foundations. Thus the combination of philanthropy and education with a focus on Flint is a natural extension of this couple’s history.
The Mott-Warsh Collection's mission is to present contemporary fine art to public audiences in non-traditional venues as well as educational and cultural institutions. The goal for the collection is to engage viewers in meaningful and impactful ways through a variety of presentation approaches, by intention and design, and make the artwork relevant to contemporary life.
We envision sharing the MWC with underserved communities, which do not have many opportunities to view museum-quality American artwork. The presentation priorities are: