Celebrating Peggy Cooper Cafritz (1947-2018)
Impassioned advocate for the arts and education leaves a lasting legacy.
It is with sadness that New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) learns of the passing of Peggy Cooper Cafritz, patron of the arts and former President of the District of Columbia Board of Education. Cooper Cafritz, who was inducted into the NYFA Hall of Fame in 2017, was known for championing contemporary and emerging African American artists, with The New York Times describing her collection as a “mash-up of the best of what you might find in a group show at the Studio Museum in Harlem, PS1, and the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea.”
Her dual passions for art and education led her to co-found the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C., now one of the premiere arts high schools in the country. Among her many other achievements, she has helped bring greater racial and cultural diversity to the Smithsonian’s professional ranks, exhibitions, and educational programs as former Co-Chair for the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Equity Committee. Writing for USA Today, Mark Nichols reflects that “Peggy Cooper Cafritz will be remembered as a passionate civil rights activist, educator, philanthropist and avid art collector.”
Image: Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Photo credit: Carl Timpone/BFA.com