|Haitian art as a distinctive category has existed for roughly sixty years. Credit for its discovery goes to DeWitt Peters, an American artist who went to Haiti in the early 1940's. Peters established Le Centre d'Art, an art school in Port-au-Prince. Peters realized that he had come across artists who needed no training but rather access to money and materials. Consequently, Le Centre d'Art took on many roles, serving as an art school in the traditional sense, a gathering place for self-taught artists, and also as a commercial gallery. Using his connections in New York City and in Europe, Peters was able to draw attention to Haitian art outside of the small island nation.
The Waterloo Center for the Arts' Haitian Collection was established in 1977 with generous gifts from Dr. and Mrs. F.Harold Reuling. Since that time the collection has expanded to represent work by other Caribbean cultures.
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