College Lends Out Original Artwork

OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) - Many college students plaster their dormitory walls with posters and prints of artwork. But at Oberlin College, students get a chance to hang up the real thing.

On "Rental Day" at the school's Allen Memorial Art Museum, students are allowed to lease original works of art worth as much as $15,000.

Students pay just $5 for a piece during the twice-annual event, and proceeds go toward buying more pieces for the collection and repairing works.

"This is a lot better than having a poster in your dorm room," Alison, a sophomore, said. To protect the artwork, the college asks that renters' last names not be used.

The late Ellen Johnson, an Oberlin art professor and collector, dreamed up Rental Day 62 years ago because she believed art should be shared, said Sharon Patton, the museum's director.

No one has ever stolen a rented artwork -- although some pieces have been returned late or with damage to the Plexiglas or frame.

The Rental Day collection includes more than 400 pieces, mostly contemporary works.

Oberlin is about 30 miles west of Cleveland.

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