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Linda Lavin donates personal art collection to Cameron Art Museum


Tony Award-winning actress Linda Lavin is donating her formidable art collection to the Cameron Art Museum.  It’s one more gift to the community as Lavin and her husband Steve Bakunas make preparations to move to New York, after 17 years in the Port City.  As Lavin tells WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn, the gift to the Museum is dubbed The Transformative Power of Friendship

The art spans 40 years, from Linda Lavin’s black and white and gray phase to her fascination with southwestern art.  But the pieces didn’t become a “collection” in Lavin’s estimation -- until she offered it to Museum Director Anne Brennan. 

"And so it’s right and it’s fitting that my collection of many years which was housed in this beautiful home I lived in in the downtown historic district – it’s fitting that it should go into the Cameron Art Museum – which is a state-of-the-art jewel of a museum and which is where I’ve spent 17 years of my life.” 

Lavin says she feels emotional, vulnerable – leaving a place that she loves full of people she loves.  But there’s a great deal of satisfaction in making these gifts while she’s alive, she says, instead of as a bequest from a will. 

“These are the gifts of life and they translate into things, ultimately.  And some of those things go out the door and some of those things you take with you in your heart.  And that’s what I care about doing – is taking my past with me in my heart but not in the stuff of things.” 

There are more gifts to the community to come… which aren’t yet public.  But one new surprise which is ready for prime time, says Lavin, is an additional gift to the Cameron – and Museum Director Anne Brennan. 

“Anne has asked for two pictures of mine.  One is a Jim Dine and one is a Botero… And I said, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll loan them to you for the exhibit.  But now that I've seen them -- she doesn't even know this -- I'm going to say this on the air -- I'm going to make them part of the donation.” 

The public is invited to attend the opening of The Transformative Power of Friendship, featuring the Linda Lavin collection, at the Cameron Art Museum, November 11, 3-5 PM.