The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, a Waco-area patron of the arts and civic initiatives, has donated several paintings to the Baylor University Libraries. The collection of originals, prints, and one-of-a-kind paintings includes a watercolor drawing by an elephant, a print of "Moses and the Burning Bush" by Arnold Friberg, and a tissue paper collage by the Rapoports' daughter-in-law.
"I think frequently young people graduate from universities without being exposed to art or to the idea that a picture can sometimes be more educationally rewarding than a book of 400 or 500 pages," says Bernard Rapoport, founder and chairman of the foundation.
The donated paintings will "most likely be placed in the Crouch Fine Arts Library, but we are looking at other areas of library as well," John Wilson, the director of library advancement, explains.
Rapoport, the son of a Jewish Russian immigrant, grew up amid the Great Depression and an era of widespread racial bigotry. As a result of the intolerance and social injustice he experienced and witnessed through his formative years, Rapoport grew passionate for the aid of the disadvantaged and underserved.
Today, the foundation supports initiatives in education, arts and culture, healthcare, and community-building in the Waco area and across McLennan County. The donation to Baylor represents Rapoport's belief that a focus on the fine arts is crucial to a well-rounded education.
As a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Rapoport says his work with the new Blanton Museum of Art at UT furthers his desire to promote the benefits of exposing students to the fine arts.
"Having been through many art museums, seldom do I walk out of a museum without feeling enriched," he says. "I think every university should have a growing library."