Breonna Taylor Portrait Artist Donates $1 Million To UofL

Apr 11, 2022 at 10:38 am
Amy Sherald, Breonna Taylor, 2020
Amy Sherald, Breonna Taylor, 2020

Renowned artist Amy Sherald is donating a $1 million gift to UofL. The artist established a trust from the sale of her Breonna Taylor portrait. The funds will support the law school fellowship, Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship and undergraduate scholarship, the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship.

The announcement was made during the first “Breonna Taylor Lecture on Structural Inequality,” a lecture event presented by the UofL Louis D. School of Law on Sunday. During the event, Sherald was presented with the first Darryl T. Owens Community Service Award. 

As it stands, the portrait has plans to return to Louisville for display in 2023. It was purchased and is co-owned by the Speed Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Sherald wanted the ownership of the piece shared between these two institutions. 

From the release: 

"Nothing can take away the injustice of Breonna Taylor’s death," said UofL Interim Vice President for Community Engagement Douglas Craddock Jr. upon announcement of the gift. "But what we must do is create spaces where Breonna Taylor is remembered and where her legacy can inspire us to carry on the hard work of erasing inequality and divisiveness. Amy Sherald’s gift will have transformative power for the law school fellows and scholarship recipients who will benefit from her decision to use her artistic gift to help heal the corrosiveness of hatred and animosity."

Members of Breonna Taylor’s family, including Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer, were in attendance for the lecture and reception. The Taylor family attorney, Lonita Baker, also attended the day’s activities. An alumna of the Law School, Baker discussed the establishment of the lecture series and introduced Law School professor Laura McNeal who presented the first Breonna Taylor Lecture in Structural Inequality.

The Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship is open to law school students with 60 or more credit hours who secure a legal volunteer position over the summer with a social justice nonprofit organization or agency. Three fellowships supporting stipends of $9,000 will be awarded. Applicants also must demonstrate a commitment to social justice as evidenced by an application essay. The first fellowships will be awarded in summer 2023.

The Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship is open to undergraduate students at UofL who demonstrate a commitment to social justice as evidenced by an application essay, also. Up to four students will receive funding beginning with one student in fall 2023, two in 2024, three in 2025 and four in subsequent years. Each scholarship is $7,000.

Amy Sherald  |  Photo by JJ Geiger, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth - JJ Geiger, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth
JJ Geiger, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Amy Sherald | Photo by JJ Geiger, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

The Darryl T. Owens Community Service Award which was presented to Sherald, honors the life of Owens who served as a Kentucky State Representative for Louisville from 2005 - 2018. He passed away in January at age 84. His friend and colleague Kentucky State Senator Gerald Neal presented the award to Amy Sherald

"I have created this trust to help unblock the challenges historically faced by students pursuing the work of social justice and public service while attending the University of Louisville," said Sherald in the release. “I am proud to partner with the university as we continue to increase the rate of access and advocacy within the Louisville community and across this country with the Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship and the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship for undergraduates."

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