Patricia Buckley Moss graduated from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1955 with a specialization in fine arts and graphic design. At The Cooper Union, Pat was encouraged to seek a more personal expression of her ideas through her art. Intense study and discussions with professors and fellow students expanded Pat’s artistic horizons and gave birth to her unique style, freely expressive and often rich in religious symbolism.
Patricia Buckley was born in 1933 in New York City. Patricia was dyslexic and had academic difficulties until she was enrolled at the Washington Irving High School for the Fine Arts. She states, “Very early in life, when I failed at everything else in school, my art became my solace. What challenges I faced academically did not exist with my art endeavors; whereas, some people succeed in spite of a disability, I believe I thrive because of mine. Now, with recognition and success, I reach out in my charitable endeavors to help others through my art, especially those with learning differences.”
Ms. Moss was selected by the award committee because of her lifelong commitment to philanthropy and charitable giving. The fact that she has directly followed in Peter Cooper’s footsteps by focusing on education and has inspired others to do so as well is a fitting way to recognize our Inaugural Peter Cooper Public Service Awardee.
In the tradition of Peter Cooper, Ms. Moss’ success has been funneled into helping others. Donations of P. Buckley Moss’ art have raised over four million dollars for worthy charities. The P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education is devoted to promoting the use of art in the classroom, especially as a means to teach children with learning differences.
In 1987, the P. Buckley Moss Society was established by a few enthusiastic collectors to assist the artist in her charitable endeavors. This Society has grown to include 26 active chapters with membership exceeding 8,000 members. P. Buckley Moss is both the Society’s inspiration and its “battle cry” as it spreads the artist’s messages of concern and optimism for what might otherwise be forgotten and misunderstood children and adults.
In 1995 the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education was formed to help children with learning differences to succeed in school and in life. The Foundation encourages the integration of the visual and performing arts throughout all educational programs but especially those involving children who learn differently. The Foundation hosts an annual teachers’ conference, a forum for sharing cutting edge methods of art-based education. The Foundation provides annual teacher grants, sponsors an annual Summer Art Enrichment Program for children aged 4–11, and administers three annual college student scholarships.
Ms. Moss currently lives in Virginia, dividing her time between the Chesapeake Bay and the southwestern section of the state. Many of her works are displayed permanently at P. Buckley Moss galleries throughout the state. Her museum attracts approximately 45,000 visitors per year. Pat Moss’ story is told and illustrated over and over in the Museum’s main gallery, as visitors are exposed to some of the best examples of her artistic creativity. Ms. Moss has become a role model for those who learn differently and is frequently asked to speak at schools and children-focused organizations nationwide.