Honoring Pamela Joyner

2019 Shapiro Award Dinner

On April 6, 2019, the Smart Museum of Art celebrated Pamela Joyner and Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection during the Joseph R. Shapiro Award Gala.

Pamela Joyner is an activist art collector and philanthropist, intent on revising modern art history to include artists of African descent and supporting living African-American artists. Through their scholarly collecting, mission-driven loan and giving activities, and underwriting of art historical research and criticism, Joyner and her husband Alfred Giuffrida are an inspiration to those who care about diversity, education, and democracy.

Joyner developed a love of art growing up in Chicago, where she attended the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools. The daughter of school teachers, she went on to become one of the first Black female graduates of Harvard Business School. After several jobs in finance, she founded Avid Partners, a strategic financial marketing consultancy.

Joyner and Giuffrida began collecting in 1999 and established an artist residency program in 2014. Joyner is Chair of the Tate Americas Foundation, a Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Trustee of the J. Paul Getty Trust. She was previously a member of President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

A significant portion of the Joyner/Giuffrida collection—including works by Sam Gilliam, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Shinique Smith, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye—was on view in the Smart Museum of Art’s presentation of Solidary & Solitary, January 29–May 19, 2019.

Photos by Anne Ryan.