John Burroughs School – Fine Art Collection

John Burroughs School – Fine Art Collection 150 150 Bliss Collaborative

John Burroughs School

Fine Art Collection

“The arts belong not on the decorative fringes of education, but close to the center of it.”

This philosophy is woven into the fabric of John Burroughs School. You can’t walk through the front office without running into The Bonsack, a non-profit teaching gallery built in 1965 to display pieces of Burroughs’ extensive fine art collection.

After the Burroughs Fine Arts Advisory Committee was established in 2007, the members made it their mission to formalize the school’s collection. As a founding member herself, Pam spearheaded the effort with the Bonsack Gallery’s curator.

Bliss Collaborative has been designing materials for the Bonsack since 2008, when we created a gatefold brochure for the inaugural exhibition of the newly formalized John Burroughs Fine Art Collection. We refresh this brochure periodically with new cover art and Collection pieces.

Then, we redesigned the didactic wall panels and added permanent artist credits to accompany the collection. The show presented an overview of the gallery’s history beginning with the art of its namesake, Arthur Bonsack ’31, and including such artists as Ernestine Betsburg and Tom Friedman ’83.

Later in 2016, Burroughs initiated its On Loan program, a testament to Burroughs’ commitment to art as a teaching tool. On Loan is a program through which individuals share works from their private collections with the Burroughs community. Past loans include Kehinde Wiley’s After Titian’s Penitent Mary Magdalene, one of Shen Jingdong’s “Heroes” series, a pre-Columbian inspired codex by Enrique Chagoya and powerful images by Kara Walker. We designed more didactic panels and permanent artist credits to accompany the collection.

The Fine Arts Advisory Committee is comprised of alumni, parents and friends who are also artists, gallery owners, collectors, historians, curators and docents. The committee curates the annual alumni show, facilitates visiting artists and speakers, chooses art for new exhibits and sponsors the annual Art for Breakfast event.

We are constantly producing materials for these new exhibits and recurring event series. The designs we’ve created for the physical space inside the Bonsack Gallery inform our other material designs, ranging from print invitations to digital media. Each piece, composed of brightly highlighted imagery, clean typography and healthy negative space, allows for flexibility of visual context.

In 2018, Burroughs hosted school-wide programs and curriculum in honor of the 50th anniversary of the most tumultuous year of the Civil Rights Movement—1968, the year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Across disciplines, students engaged with the good and bad of 1960s American culture, and the Bonsack followed suit. Two shows highlighted the theme: “MLK 50 : Bearing Witness”, a show featuring photography by Ernest C. Withers, who documented over 60 years of African American history in the segregated South; and a vintage rock poster show titled “1968: A Portrait of Rock and Roll.”

Beyond the Bonsack, Burroughs is known for its talented theatre department, another sign of the school’s love of art in all its forms. We’ve produced several theatre posters for the JBS Players. The design vocabularies interpret each show’s individual theme and storyline, yet they are tied together by the same visual foundation.


We’re proud to know that our work for the Fine Art Collection at John Burroughs School has enabled the Fine Arts Advisory Committee to preserve, maintain and advance the collection as well as promote and support the visual arts within the Burroughs community. The Bonsack continues to engage the arts as a teaching tool, consistently showing quality work by professional artists and hosting thoughtful and provocative arts programming.

Since its inception, the Fine Arts Advisory Committee has doubled its collection holdings and has introduced 130 new works of art. There are now 380 total pieces of art in the permanent collection—and counting—and a full calendar of educational programs for the school community to enjoy year after year.

5new outdoor pieces, thereby establishing an outdoor sculpture collection

380pieces of art in the permanent collection, and counting

50%of new work
acquired is created by women or artists of color

7new annual educational programs created for the school community