Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Patron of Black Artists, Dies at 70

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Patron of Black Artists, Dies at 70

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, an arts patron, civil rights activist, educator and saloniste in Washington, died there on Feb. 18. She was 70.

Her daughter, Arcelie Reyes, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Ms. Cooper Cafritz was a voracious collector and champion of African and African-American artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Kara Walker, El Anatsui, Kerry James Marshall and Kehinde Wiley, whose unconventional portrait of President Barack Obama, as a seated figure amid greenery, was unveiled this month.

She amassed one of the country’s largest private collections of African-American art.

Just as voraciously, Ms. Cooper Cafritz collected people, encircling herself with politicians, artists, celebrities, potential donors for her many causes and, most particularly, children. She fostered and mentored countless young people, including one former gang member who needed $8,000 to pay her college tuition. (Ms. Cooper Cafritz had read about her in The Washington Post.)

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