Hudson County Community College Foundation Art Collection Enriched by Extraordinary Gift of Art from Benjamin J. Dineen III and Dennis C. Hull

Posted: 11/5/2013
Jennifer Christopher, 201-360-4061 jchristopher@hccc.edu -- Roger Jones, 201-200-1080 rj@j-a-c.com
November 5, 2013, Jersey City, NJ – At its October meeting, the Hudson County Community College Board of Trustees affirmed             resolutions to accept a historic gift of more than 230 works of art from the personal collection of Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull. The Board also voted to name the new gallery space in the College’s Library/Classroom Building at 71 Sip Avenue in Jersey City after Mr. Dineen and Mr. Hull. (The Library/Classroom Building is currently under construction.)

According to Hudson County Community College (HCCC) President Dr. Glen Gabert, the Dineen-Hull gift is a landmark for the HCCC Foundation Art Collection, which recently passed a milestone of 500 works of art.

“This is the largest gift the Foundation Art Collection has ever received, and obviously we are very grateful for the generosity of Mr. Dineen and Mr. Hull. They have been great advocates and supporters of the College and our community for some time, and we are proud to call them friends,” Dr. Gabert said.

The collection of works being presented to the College includes contemporary art, largely works on paper, from major and emerging New Jersey and American artists. In addition to the art itself, the gift also includes a significant amount of ephemera and provenance documentation affiliated with the works, as well as a number of reference books that will be utilized in the College’s library. The gift will make the HCCC Foundation Art Collection one of the finest of any community college in the country, and one of the best of any institution in the tri-state area.

Mr. Dineen, who worked in the world of finance and banking and is now at United Way of Hudson County, and Mr. Hull, a retired teacher who also worked at the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions at Rutgers. They recognized they shared a profound appreciation for education, a passion for art, and a deep and abiding caring for the community.

As life partners, they began building their personal collection of art in earnest when Mr. Dineen was on the Board of the Jersey City Museum. The couple not only became knowledgeable about the young artists whose works they admired and purchased, but in many cases assisted in advancing the artists’ careers.

Mr. Dineen said his interest in collecting began as a youngster when he assembled and painted model cars from kits, then moved on to collect Matchbox cars, then to works of art, and for a time, he co-owned a gallery in New York.

When they became partners, the couple began primarily collecting works on paper, which then expanded to include sculpture, painting and much more. “We never expected our collection — which fills every wall in our home — would be this extensive,” Mr. Hull states.

“A work of art has to speak to you,” Mr. Dineen says. “And, it just pulls you in,” Mr. Hull states.

Mr. Dineen has been a member of the Hudson County Community College Foundation Board of Directors for some time and was instrumental in starting the HCCC Foundation Art Collection. Over the years he and Mr. Hull have been generous contributors to the College’s fine arts program and the Foundation Art Collection, providing gifts of art and financial support.

“What we love about the Foundation Art Collection is that it is displayed throughout the halls, classrooms and public spaces of the College. It is comprised of beautiful, imaginative works that are there to inspire, uplift, and to be enjoyed. The art transforms spaces,” Mr. Hull says.

The couple also like the fact that every financial donation made to the HCCC Foundation Art Collection is matched two-fold — once by the Foundation itself, and again by the HCCC Board of Trustees. “That’s a real testimony to the College’s commitment to the fine arts and the community,” Mr. Dineen states.

On Monday afternoon, October 28, 2013, nearly 200 people — friends and colleagues of the couple, including artists whose works they have collected — attended a reception at the College saluting the pair and their extraordinary gift.

At the gathering, Dr. Gabert said: “This is a historic day for the College. The naming of the gallery is not because of the Dineen-Hull gift. The name is to celebrate two wonderful lives.”

Throughout their partnership the couple has enriched the lives of the people of Hudson County by dedicating their time, expertise and resources to individuals and organizations. In addition to serving on various boards — including the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Jersey City Museum, City Without Walls Gallery, and the Hudson County Community College Foundation — Mr. Dineen and Mr. Hull have been advocates for the gay, lesbian and transgender community and have worked tirelessly to improve the rights and quality of life of all people.

Mr. Dineen and Mr. Hull say that they are making this donation to the College because they know their collection will be well looked after, and because they hope to encourage others to donate to the HCCC Foundation Art Collection. Additionally, they hope their gift will encourage others — especially young people — to begin collecting for themselves.

When it comes to donating, Mr. Hull says, “It’s better to be known for what we gave rather than what we had.” As far as collecting, Mr. Dineen says, “You don’t have to have a lot of money to collect. You have to find some one thing you really love and focus on building a little at a time.”

For photos from this event, please visit www.digiproofs.com, password 102813HCCC or the College’s Flickr page, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hudsonccc.

 To see video from this event, please visit the College’s YouTube page, http://www.youtube.com/user/HudsonCountyCollege