The PVCC college library was renamed in 2011 for retired faculty Dr. Warren Buxton and his wife Jo in appreciation of the Native American and Western art collection they donated to the library in 1989 for permanent display.
The Buxton collection today is estimated to be worth in excess of $400,000. Representing artists spanning the Americas, the collection includes katsinas, pottery, stone and wood figures, beadwork, batik, mixed media, watercolors, oils, etchings, hand-colored and offset lithography, block print, chromolithography, gouache and mateo. Most items represent the time period from 1930 to 1989, although it also includes a parfleche bag from the 1880s, and a corn husk bag from 1910. The couple decided to donate the art to the college when Mrs. Buxton became ill and it became necessary for them to sell the home where they the art had been displayed. She died in 1997.
“We are pleased to name the library after a couple who have contributed so much to PVCC and the entire Maricopa Community College District,” said Library Faculty Shelle Witten. “Warren Buxton gave this gift from their hearts and never asked for recognition. They fell in love with the unique genre of Native American art and craft and wanted to share it beyond the walls of their own home.”
Dr. Buxton was a respected original faculty member who retired from the PVCC Business/IT Division in 1997 after working in the district for nearly 40 years. Following his retirement from PVCC, Dr. Buxton spent five years in the MCCCD Active Retirement Program as curator of the Buxton Collection. He developed a comprehensive database and guide to the collection items and worked with the PVCC librarians to design and implement a cataloging system for each art piece. In 2007, he wrote his autobiography, The Jo and Warren Buxton Art Collection: But Who Were Those Buxtons?
He also purchased and then donated 151 books, valued at $3,775, to the PVCC library to support students’ research needs about indigenous Americans, Native American and Western artists, and the history of the Americas.
Dr. Buxton initially joined the Maricopa Community Colleges as faculty of Phoenix College’s workforce training program, a result of the federal Manpower Development and Training Act of 1963. Data processing was a new discipline, and Dr. Buxton was appointed by the MCCCD’s administrative team to serve concurrently, in 1968 and 1969, as the Director of Data Processing and resident faculty. Dr. Buxton died on December 16, 2018.
Puma Press YouTube video of the dedication event:
Buxton Library Dedication, February 2011
Images from the art collection, artist info, and Buxton biographies:
Buxton Art Collection