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Law and art: Local attorney shares passion for folk art with alma mater

November 22, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law alumnus Douglas Gitter, J.D. '92, an attorney and former restaurateur, began collecting contemporary American Folk art when he was 23 years old. Gitter is now using that 25-year passion to give back to his alma mater. He, along with his wife and fellow alumna, Cathy Gitter, M.B.A. ’93, donated 30 pieces of folk art that will be permanently displayed on the fourth floor of Loyola’s College of Law.

Gitter, now owner of the Gitter Gallery website, has cultivated close and rewarding relationships with many of artists over the years, several of whom are now recognized in the Smithsonian Institution and the American Folk Art Museum in New York. Many of the works now on display at the College of Law are from these artists.

The giclée canvas art on display are all museum quality reproductions from self-taught artists, including Howard Finster, Bernice Sims, Philo Levi "Chief" Willey and Clementine Hunter, for which Gitter recently designed a new line. The Clementine Hunter Collection features hand-painted ceramic serving platters and bowls depicting what everyday plantation life was like in the rural south. Hunter’s “Baptism on Cane River” was recently featured as part of Oprah Winfrey’s 2013 edition of “Favorite Things.”

Donations by Gitter are currently on display across the country, including New York, Florida, Alabama and Texas. Louisiana is home to many as well, including Rapides Regional Medical Center’s sixth floor oncology unit in Alexandria, Sutton Children's Medical Center in Shreveport, the pediatric floor at Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway and the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Lafayette.

“I graduated 20 plus years, and I always wanted to give back to the College of Law to show my appreciation for the education and the background the school provided me. I believe folk art really brings the world to life, and for students walking the halls between classes and studying, if they see this art, if it helps make their day better and makes them feel good, then it has accomplished its mission,” Gitter said.

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