The Dusti Bongé Art Foundation (DBAF) was established in 1995 in Biloxi, Mississippi, a few years after the passing of Dusti Bongé. Her family and a group of friends formed an organization to honor and promote her extensive and impressive oeuvre. The DBAF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and access to, the beautiful collection of works Bongé left as her legacy.
Since its inception, the Foundation has been engaged in cataloguing, appraising, and conserving the artwork. It has placed several significant works with major regional institutions, so they may share them with the public. In 2011 the Foundation was endowed with a significant portion of the Family Estate, and maintains an extensive collection of her work in a variety of mediums.
Through the years, The DBAF has arranged various exhibitions. The Foundation also has a continually rotating selection of works up at its gallery in Biloxi, which first opened its doors to the public in 2011.
The mission of the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation (DBAF) is to promote the artistic legacy of Dusti Bongé, Mississippi’s first Abstract Expressionist painter, through exhibition, conservation, scholarship, and education.
The DBAF accomplishes its mission through various means, such as collaborating on exhibitions, facilitating placement of the artist’s works in public collections, and supporting research and scholarship. It is dedicated to promoting Dusti Bongé’s work, not only within Mississippi, but nationally and internationally.
Recent accomplishments include a major retrospective exhibition and a definitive monograph on her work. The exhibition “Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé” opened in New Orleans in 2019. The academic monograph Dusti Bongé, Art and Life: Biloxi, New Orleans, New York, by J. Richard Gruber (2019) offers an in-depth look at her life and art. Long term goals include continuing research toward a catalogue raisonné and the establishment of an archives collection of artist's papers and other documentation of historical value related to the artist.
The DBAF’s ongoing efforts include cataloging and conserving the collection of Dusti Bongé’s work, while continually promoting public awareness about the artist's life and work through different outlets, including online and other venues.
The Foundation supports arts education & appreciation for all ages. To that end the DBAF maintains a gallery, free and open to the public, where we always have a selection of the artist’s works on display, allowing continual access to her art. We typically mount several exhibits a year in order to show as much of her work as possible. We invite you to visit us whenever you are on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Exhibition & Conservation
One of our major goals. in promoting public awareness about the artist's life and work, Is to present exhibitions celebrating her oeuvre. We are working continuously to promote Bongé’s work, not only regionally, but nationally and internationally, through physical and virtual means.
A necessary aspect of achieving our exhibition goal is conserving Dusti Bongé’s work. As a major beneficiary of the Family estate, the Foundation has been working for several years on getting important oil paintings conserved, ensuring that they are in stable condition, cleaned, and restored, so that they may be shared with the public long into the future. To date we have conserved over 40 paintings. Our conservation efforts are an essential and ongoing project.
Our years of consistent conservation accomplishments, in turn, have recently allowed us to mount a major retrospective exhibition of Dusti Bongé’s work in New Orleans, in an important Southern Institution. The planning and preparation of this exhibition took many years and the resulting show is absolutely stunning.
At the DBAF gallery we rotate our exhibits several times a year in order to share the broad range of work Dusti Bongé created. We invite you to visit us whenever you are on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Detail of a painting before and after conservation
Scholarship & Education
The Foundation's other high priority goals include scholarship and arts education & appreciation for all ages. In fact, we have just published a major academic monograph of Dusti Bongé’s work, which offers an in-depth look at her life and art. This beautiful scholarly publication is the definitive source of information about the artist, her work, and the times she lived in.
Meanwhile, we continue with our ongoing research in compiling detailed records for a catalogue raisonné. We perpetually search for long lost works and relish unexpected new finds.
At our gallery, in Biloxi, we always have a small selection of Bongé’s works on display, so that visitors from near and far can always view her art. Admission to our gallery is free. The artworks are arranged in a manner that illustrates the development of her artistic style. Art and/or Art Appreciation teachers often bring their students. Our exhibits show the evolution of her oeuvre over the course of her fifty-plus year career as an artist, allowing patrons to follow her path from her early representational works, to her surrealist explorations, on to her Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, and finally to her later more lyrical abstractions.
The Foundation has also established an annual High-school Scholarship Program, awarded to seniors who are intending to study fine art or a related field. The scholarship goes toward tuition and/or supplies at the awardee's college.