In 1997, DeLand resident and staunch supporter of the arts, Vera Bluemner Kouba, chose Stetson University as the recipient of her late father's effects. Her father, Oscar Bluemner, passed away in 1938, in relative obscurity. His work, though, gained serious attention after his death and now Bluemner is considered a very influential painter in the early twentieth-century art scene.
Vera Bluemner Kouba was an avid fan of the Stetson Music program, and after the passing of her husband, decided to make arrangements for Stetson to acquire her late father's effects. The collection included over 1,000 works of art and some personal effects.
Stetson University, with assistance from Volusia County, began a campaign to build a facility that could preserve, exhibit and allow research into this collection. Stetson alumna and former trustee Dolly Hand made the most substantial contribution to the new facility. In 2009, Stetson University began construction on the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center.
The Hand Art Center provides the Stetson Community, Deland, and the Central Florida region with a unique opportunity to engage with the work of Oscar Bluemner. Artwork from Bluemner's collection has traveled to the Corcoron Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of Art, among others.