Since its founding John Burroughs School has fostered a life-long passion for the arts through a mission of learning through and living with art.


While the school has a long tradition of accepting gifts of art, it wasn't until Sidney S. and Sadie Cohen made a generous cash gift in 1970 that the school began purchasing works of art that formed the foundation of what would become the school's permanent collection. Under the direction of then Painting and Drawing Department Chair Joanna Collins '47, the school began acquiring prints, drawings and paintings that suited the school's didactic purposes.

In 1988, an anonymous donor began giving funds for future acquisitions in honor of artist and past parent Frances Thomas Martin. Under the thoughtful direction of the school's Fine Arts Advisory Committee, Burroughs continues to grow the collection through Mrs. Martin's eponymous fund and the generous gifts of donors. The more than 350 pieces of art displayed throughout the campus represent a broad array of media, techniques and visions by artists of diverse backgrounds, thereby offering a comprehensive and enriching exposure to the visual arts. Thanks to the support of the FAAC, the JBS fine arts faculty and our extended community, the John Burroughs School permanent collection provides a powerful learning experience for the student body and stands as one of St. Louis' exceptional collections of visual art. Highlights of the collection include works by Donald Sultan, Damon Davis, Jane Hammond, Tom Friedman '83, Christine Corday and Chuck Close.  

Donald Sultan's "3 Corten Poppies" in front of the STAR building


The ON LOAN program shares works from the private collections in the Burroughs' community. It is an extension of Burroughs' commitment to art as a teaching tool, presenting a diverse range of ideas and material approaches. 

In addition to the exhibition of work of professional artists of regional and national prominence in our two galleries, Burroughs has more than 300 works of art in our permanent collection, rotated throughout campus. ON LOAN enables us to broaden and deepen student exposure to contemporary and topical art and artists.

A teacher lectures to a group of students about a piece of art