Why They Give
Morgan Wilkinson Horner ’75
To better serve the students and faculty of the Woman’s College, George Ivy, head of the Department of Art, created a teaching gallery in 1941. The Weatherspoon Art Museum is now an accredited, professional museum, nationally recognized for its collections and dynamic exhibition programs. Throughout its 76 years, the Weatherspoon has maintained its mission to teach art to its visitors, a mission Charlotte Wilkinson Toler would have loved.
After graduating from WC in 1932, Toler dedicated herself to teaching in a one-room school house for the employees of the Rocky Mount Mills, one of the oldest cotton mills in the nation. In 1957, when she recognized a need for local children to have a place to learn, practice, and cultivate artistic expression, Toler joined forces with her community to found the Rocky Mount Arts and Crafts Center, now housed in the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences.
Knowing her aunt valued education and access for children, Morgan Wilkinson Horner ’75 and her husband, Jack, honored Toler’s memory with the Charlotte Wilkinson Toler Art Education Endowment at the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Designed to create and promote activities for children, families, and the community, the Toler fund supports educational and interactive art experiences.
“The Toler let us design programs that make the museum a warm, vibrant, and welcoming space,” says Teresa Dowell-Dennis, Associate Curator of Education.
Among these programs are celebrations such as the Summer Solstice Celebration, where visitors at the Weatherspoon enjoy music, reflection, and gallery activities. The Toler fund also supports docent training and self-guided tours, which encourage parents and caregivers to engage with their children as they view art.
Charlotte Toler’s legacy of providing children access to arts and education lives on in the Weatherspoon, where children wander the galleries, chattering excitedly about the paintings, sculptures, and photographs of ever-changing exhibits. Her fund supports new generations of artists and art lovers, ensuring curiosity that will enrich countless lives.
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Story
Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.