Shelley and Donald Rubin Gallery

2 Min Read

Shelley and Donald Rubin unknowingly started what would become a vast collection of culturally significant artworks with a single spontaneous purchase in the late 1970s. Passing a gallery in New York, they saw a Tibetan painting. It was far out of their budget, but neither of them could stop thinking about it, and the next day they returned to the gallery and spent half their savings on the piece. 

In the decades since, the Rubins’ passion for arts and the cultural traditions from which they are born from has only grown. Their belief that art has the potential to challenge the status quo and generate new opportunities has led them to share their collection–and others–with viewers from around the world. In 1995, they started a foundation to promote social justice and support the arts, established the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and launched a program at Oglethorpe–Donald’s alma mater–to support exhibitions at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. They envisioned a program that would provide inspiration and support for new courses, lectures, and greater shared engagement with the world through art. 

Through the Shelley and Donald Rubin Gallery at OUMA, students as well as visitors to Brookhaven have been able to view artwork from the Rubins’ extensive personal collection of Himalayan, Tibetan, and Indian art as well as works from other collections. One European art exhibition, Route Campagne: Impressionist Works, featured more than 35 original works by artists such as Cezanne, Chagall, Matisse, Pissaro and Renoir, among others.

OUMA’s goal of expanding the cultural experience of viewers inspires visitors to think more broadly, walking away with a unique experience that they may not find anywhere else in Atlanta. The Shelley and Donald Rubin Gallery, open to the public along with the rest of the museum, is a true gem in the community and beyond, and well worth adding to your itinerary whether you’re a Brookhavenite or just visiting. 

“The emotion generated by viewing a great work of art is very much like falling in love. The passion radiating from the art overtakes us with its power and beauty. It’s truly a heart connection.”
—Shelley and Donald Rubin

Find more information on OUMA and upcoming exhibitions at, and more about the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation at