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Interior Design Program Receives Major Gift

Salem College’s interior design program received a major donation for a new program initiative.

Salem College’s interior design program is stepping into the forefront of the industry with a major donation and a new program initiative. The new Sutton Initiative for Design Education (SIDE), named in honor of Salem Academy alumna Martha Allene Stevens Sutton, will include two major donations and a program comprised of three components: collaboration, scholarship and research.

In order to improve Salem’s design research library, Charles and Martha Sutton have donated their personal library of more than 900 books on furniture, architecture, design, history and interiors. The Sutton collection is one of the most comprehensive of its kind outside the Bienenstock collection in High Point. This collection is already available for students at Salem’s Gramley library.

A major component of SIDE is the establishment of The Teaching Chair Collection, also donated by the Suttons. Nearly 40 chairs, each considered “icons” by furniture historians, will comprise the core of the collection, which will be used in interior design classes. Each chair is unique in its design, use of materials and technology, innovation or creativity. The chairs chosen for the SIDE Teaching Chair Collection have stood the test of time or seem poised to do so. The Teaching Chair Collection is unique in that no other college or university in the country has assembled a comparable collection of chairs that students can study and use as a source of inspiration.