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MAG Featured Artist Clark Walker Discusses His Art and Demonstrates Its Creation

walker1blogrevisedArtists rarely have the opportunity to see their work in museum galleries, and the public rarely has the chance to hear artists discuss their work that is on display in museum galleries. On Sunday, June 28, Clark Walker and River Region art aficionados were able to enjoy these rare treats.

Walker conducted an informal gallery talk in the Museum galleries that are temporarily devoted exclusively to his retrospective show that is part of the 41st Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition. Two-dozen paintings and drawings on loan from a dozen local collectors comprise the show. The artist also demonstrated his drawing techniques.

walker3blogrevisedStanding at an easel in the Museum library, felt-tipped pen in hand, surrounded by admiring fans and collectors of his work, the artist showed how he typically begins drawings of faces with the eyes, then nose, mouth, and finally the silhouette of the head—all with an economical use of line. He explained in his typical deadpan manner that he paints the same way, “in my underwear.” It was not the first laugh he elicited from the crowd of forty people, nor the last. Nor was it the only insight he provided on how he draws and paints the “circus people,” “curb market people,” and countless cats and still-life compositions that have earned him well deserved respect among Montgomery art connoisseurs and collectors.

An illustrated brochure that documents the exhibition is available for free in the galleries, and may be downloaded free as a PDF from the Museum’s website. The 41st Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition with Featured Artist Clark Walker is on display through Sunday, August 9.

Michael Panhorst
Curator of Art

 

MMFA and the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Honor Zelda Fitzgerald, the Artist

Blog.TeaandTalkA group of some 85 excited participants assembled at the MMFA on Saturday morning, June 20, to learn more about the visual art created by Montgomery-native Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900–1948).  Although she is chiefly recognized in tandem with her novelist/husband F. Scott Fitzgerald as one of America’s first international celebrity couples, the crowd was in attendance to see a collection of her artwork now held by the MMFA.

Her two hometown museums teamed up to recognize Zelda’s achievements as an artist in her own right, and to celebrate her creativity.  We were delighted to partner with the Fitzgerald Museum to create this program, particularly as we get many requests over the period of a year from visitors, both local and those traveling through Montgomery, to see her work.  Clearly the response indicates the fascination that this famous couple still inspires today.

Blog.TeaandTalk.4The program began with refreshments that included Southern biscuits and peaches, which were two favorite foods that reminded Zelda of her roots when she lived outside of Alabama.  Willie Thompson, Executive Director of the Fitzgerald museum (pictured left), gave an introductory talk about Zelda’s life and focused on her reputation for youthful exuberance, as well as the challenges she met in later life as she suffered with chronic mental illness.  I followed with a discussion of the watercolor paintings by the artist, now on view in the MMFA’s Weil Print Study until August 23.  This is a rare opportunity for the public to have access to them, since paintings on paper are some of the most fragile media to exhibit due to their sensitivity to light and heat. Blog.TeaandTalk.3

We want to thank Willie, the supporters of the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, and our own Curator of Education for Adult Programs, Alice Novak, for their planning and coordination of the event.  We hope that everyone who attended has a better appreciation for Zelda Fitzgerald the artist, and for her passionate creativity.  Come to the Museum for a summer lunch in our Café M before August 23 and see these works for yourself.

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

41st Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition Opens

 

Blog.ArtGuildThe 41st Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition opened Friday night, June 12, with a festive reception attended by more than 400 people. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of 24 awards worth a total of $22,645. The Museum appreciates the work that Thornton Clark, the Art Guild’s show chair, has done to raise the money for these awards, encouraging the participation of so many accomplished artists. Museum Director Mark Johnson said, “We are also grateful to the many generous supporters, including the Museum’s 2014 Junior Executive Board, Sterling Bank, and Margaret Berry Lowder, who helped to sponsor this exhibition.”Blog.ArtGuild2015

The juror, Tom Butler, Director Emeritus of the Columbus (GA) Museum, selected 97 items from 427 entries by 127 artists. 38 artists entered for the first time, and 27 of those first-timers were among the 74 artists selected. Butler also presented the following awards (dimensions are in inches, height before width before depth). (At right: Director Mark Johnson and Juror Tom Butler.)

Blog.ArtGuild.First

$3000 Noble Seay Jones Best In Show Award
Chie A. Hitchner, Unfolding, Weaving (108×28) (At left: Best-in-Show winner Chie A. Hitchner)
$2500 MMFA Director’s Award
Cicely Hulett, Genesis, Mixed media (48×48)
$1000 AUM College of Arts and Sciences Award
Dale Lewis, Heart of Gold, Wood and metal (30x9x9)
$1000 Thornton and Pat Clark Award
Lindy Bruggink, Casey in Black, Oil on panel (17×14)

 

 

$1000 Doster Award
Larry Percy, KERYGMA SERIES: Journeys to Holy Ghost Canyon XX/Dodged Bullet: Incident
401, Saggar fired earthenware, charred wood, concrete (53x19x14)
$1000 Kelly Fitzpatrick Award
Pamela Wesley Copeland, Rouen Nights, Oil (30×24)
$1000 Foy Gilmore Goodwyn Memorial Fund Award
Sheri Schumacher, Margins, Mixed media textiles (50×38)
$1000 Halvorson Award
Kate Seawell, Cadmium Orange, Mixed media monotype (24×32)
$1000 Moore Wealth Management Award
Michael Vaughn Sims, Mount Carmel, Mixed media (33x22x20)
$1000 Edward L. Robbins Award
Joan DiLaura, Irises, Mixed media, (28×22)
$1000 Jimmie Sabel Award
Richard Mills, The Poletoads Nesting in Lucerne, Watercolor, gouache, collage (40×50)
$1000 Vivian Butler Scott Award
Amber Hall, Tornado Aftermath at Lake Martin East I, Oil on canvas (30×60)
$1000 Chuck Whitehead Award for Figurative or Portrait Art
Scott Crockett, Self-Portrait, Graphite (27×21)
$500 2014 MMFA Junior Executive Board First-Time Entrant Award
Warren Simons, Palm Tree Repairs, Digital inkjet print on paper (33×24)
$500 Vincent Cappelluzzo Award for Figurative or Portrait Art
Cecile W. Morgan, Different Drummer, Oil (33×27)
$500 Doug’s 2 Award
Virginia Wolfe, Out to Paint the Town Red, Watercolor (26×22)
$500 The Sandra Hicks Larson Award
Donna Pickens, Variations on the Ladder Theme, Charcoal, conti, collage, graphite (20×27)
$500 McKenzie Award
Margaret Gluhman, Journey: Unknown, Collage (20×16)
$500 Midstate Advertising Award
Darrell C. Warr, Blue Haze, Oil (25×29)
$500 Terrell Stokes Award
Carol Barksdale, Indigo Vibes, Mixed media (24×36)
$500 Clark Walker Award
Rachael Sherer, Rodrigo, Oil (48×24)

Three Art Galleries and Artists of the South Advertisement Awards Donated by AGAS Publishing
Kay Alkire Brummal, Depth Perception, Color photograph on paper (24×28)
Ken Lever, Bow-Legged, Wood, (12x20x14) (At right)
Don Norris, Carpenter Romanesque, Monroe County, Alabama, Digital inkjet print on paper, (23×16)ArtGuild.Blog3

The MMFA and the Montgomery Art Guild’s partnership has again produced an outstanding exhibition representing the best contemporary art in the River Region.

Michael Panhorst
Curator of Art

Camp Sunshine Shines On

CampSun2015.blog.3The MMFA staff are always pleased to see “Camp Sunshine Wednesday” roll around on our calendars because it means the presence in our galleries and studios of some lovely, and very special, people.  Camp Sunshine is a long-standing tradition now in our community, serving many elementary school-age girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience summer camp activities. (At left: Wanda Horsley provides an introduction to paintings in the gallery for Camp Sunshine campers.)

Camp Sunshine visited the Museum this year on Wednesday, June 6. This marks the first year for Camp Sunshine at the Museum under the direct leadership of the Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama here in Montgomery. The anticipation of the girls who participate in the program is always high when they reach the Museum, and this year was no different.  Welcomed and led by our talented Museum docents Gloria Simons, Wanda Horsley, Paula Murphy, Grace Cook, Pam Moulton, and Penny Thompson, the campers toured the galleries for a look at the permanent collection, followed by time in both the ArtWorks galleries and the studio. They each created a “tissue vase” collage while they were here to take away from their visit. CampSun2015.blog.2

We offer our congratulations to the Girl Scouts in Montgomery, to the Camp Sunshine staff, and to our own great volunteer docents who do such a wonderful job of introducing Camp Sunshine to one of Montgomery’s greatest resources in the arts—their hometown Museum.

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition opens Friday, June 12

MAG 41st Invitation 0215_MAG Post Card InvitationJuried shows inevitably instigate anxiety among artists. In order to enter, they must select art they hope will resonate with jurors whose taste they do not know. For exhibitions juried from digital images, like the MAG Museum show, artists must photograph their art so that the colors, composition, and textual characteristics are conveyed clearly despite each image being viewed on a computer monitor. Whether the artwork is six inches or six feet tall, durable or ephemeral, the artist has only a digital image or two with which to impress the judge. No wonder that artists complain jurors “just don’t get it.”

On the other hand, jurors have nothing but that tiny image and the title, date, dimensions, and material on which to base their decisions. Juried shows guard the anonymity of the artist so that decisions are based on the art, not the artist. Most jurors are adept at considering the visual and factual information and then imagining how the art will look in a gallery. Still, they often profess surprise when they see the art in person. “It has a greater presence than I expected.” “That frame really enhances the craftsmanship of the relief sculpture.” “The digital image did not convey the character of the brushstrokes.” Consequently, exhibitions juried from images often ask the juror to award prizes upon inspection of the art in the gallery, as is the case with the MAG Museum show.

MAG.BlogJurors are picked to serve because of their broad experience with art, and perhaps because of their familiarity with the type of art featured in the exhibition (contemporary art in the case of the MAG Museum show), but also because they do not reside in the same community as the artists and thus can bring an independent, and arguably unbiased, eye to the selection process. The juror for this exhibition is Tom Butler, who recently retired from a long career as director of the Columbus (GA) Museum of Art. In his statement for the catalog, he says:

As for my selection process, what were my criteria? …the high quality of the artist’s jpgs was critical. Medium, color, scale, texture, and my personal emotional reactions were the essential things I considered…but I also realize that I may have missed some subtleties that are only evident in the actual artwork. However, for four decades I have been looking at slides, transparencies, and now jpgs, so I have come to trust myself in this kind of decision-making process. Whether the work of art selected was based in observations of reality or an abstract composition, the most important factor to me was how honest the artwork was to its own identity.

Butler ultimately selected fewer than a hundred items by 74 artists from the 427 items entered by 127 artists, 38 of whom were first-time entrants. The high percentage of first-time entrants is probably attributable to a new $500 award for first-timers given by the 2014 Junior Executive Board of the Museum in order to encourage emerging artists to participate. It worked. 27 of those first-timers were selected.

That award and 23 others totaling more than $22,000 will be selected by Butler once the art is delivered to the Museum on June 5. Those awards will be announced at the opening reception on Friday, June 12. The party starts at 5:30 with the awards announcement commencing around 6:30.

Once the ceremony is done, listen carefully to the artists in the crowd. Inevitably, from some you’ll be sure to hear, “that juror just didn’t get it.”

Michael W. Panhorst, Ph.D.
Curator of Art, MMFA

Congratulations to Docent Graduates 2015

Doc.Grad.BlogIn recognition of the MMFA’s powerful and thought provoking exhibition, History Refused to Die: Alabama’s African-American Self-Taught Artists in Context, the Museum education department also payed homage to our state and its history by hosting the MMFA 2015 Docent Graduation with an Alabama theme, entitled “Jubilee.”  Dinner, prepared by Jenny Weller Catering, featured  a delicious array of barbecue, macaroni and cheese, braised greens and peach cobbler.  Tables were decked out in red and white, with a centerpiece of apples and white daisy mums, atop a cascade of books about Alabama artists.   (At left: 2015 graduates of the MMFA Docent Program, with Alice Novak, and Jill Byrd.)

Doc.Grad.Table.BlogMMFA docents are recognized for their dedication and service to the Museum by this annual special event. This year, we welcomed seven new docents who completed the requirements and graduated the program:  Julie Goolsby, Phyllis Hall, Andy Huffman, Nancy Moss, Mary Lil Owens, Laura Roth, and Penny Thompson. Other accolades went to both the outgoing and incoming Docent Councils as well as docents who had outstanding performances in categories such as gallery, studio, outreach and puppet show.

Doc.Grad.Barto.BlogTwo special recognition awards were given:  the Wayne Barto Memorial Award for Outstanding First-Year Docent was given to Penny Thompson; and the Pat Wanglie Honorary Award for Docent with Exceptional Service was given to Beth Acker. (At left: Alice Novak, Penny Thompson, Donna Pickens and Jill Byrd.)

Doc.Grad.Wanglie.BlogThe Museum is grateful to each and every docent who volunteers their time and talents to the MMFA, and, with their help, we look forward to another successful year educating the River Region about art and the Museum.
(At right: Beth Acker and Pat Wanglie.)

Jill Byrd
MMFA Tour Coordinator

Learning Through Art

LearningThroughArt#2On Tuesday, May 5, 125 excited third-grade students and their families filled the ARTWORKS corridor, proudly snapping pictures of the artwork installed up and down the hall. This happy occasion was the opening reception of the exhibition, Learning Through Art, featuring works of art created by each third-grade student at the Wares Ferry Road Elementary School during this past year as part of the MMFA Artist in Residence Program. One mother, when viewing her son’s artwork, was overheard exclaiming, “I never knew he could do artwork as good as that!” That comment was repeated many times as families viewed paintings of bright red flowers inspired by Georgia O’Keefe, trees painted in an Impressionist style, animals in clay relief, George Rodrigue inspired “blue” dogs, and other works of art in the exhibition.

The evening also included a special recognition ceremony for the students and teachers. When Mrs. Baker and Mr. Diggs, the homeroom teachers, gave each student an award certificate, the children paraded across the stage and lined up to have their pictures taken, even without prompting! Derek Murphy Jr. was recognized for his artwork included in a state competition sponsored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Timiya Harris, Willie Grant, and Kimberly Gudino were honored for having their artwork included in an exhibition of student art at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. that just opened and will be on view through June 30, 2015. The exhibition, Museums: pARTners in Learning 2015, is sponsored by the American Association of Museum Directors and the U.S. Department of Education, and celebrates innovative visual arts programming of museums with schools. The MMFA is one of 16 museums in the U.S. to have student work included in this exhibition.wfartists2

 

Learning Through Art#1The award ceremony ended with special thanks to Principal Ed Drozdowski and the outstanding MMFA art teachers, Jean Kocher and Laura Bocquin. Several members of the Montgomery Kiwanis Club were present in the audience and were recognized for their funding support of the program this year. With assistance from a National Endowment for the Arts grant, this unique program will continue and hopefully expand to additional classes next year.

 

Donna Pickens
Assistant Curator of Education for Children and Family Programs

 

Note: for those unfamiliar with the MMFA Artist in Residence Program, the Museum sponsors weekly art classes at the school, with lessons based on works of art in the Museum’s collection and related to the core curriculum. Professional artists from the River Region also visit the classes, teaching special techniques in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture. The curriculum includes Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) an inquiry-based teaching method, to encourage students’ critical thinking and literacy skills. During a recent visit to the Museum, the students demonstrated the skills they have learned from this approach, offering many astute observations about the original works of art in the galleries.

Do-Dah is a Parade with a Purpose

Do-Dah.kids.blogWhen the MMFA moved from downtown Montgomery to the Blount Cultural Park in 1988, the staff began preparing for a park-and-art-centered outdoor event—a plan that came to fruition 18 months later as the Flimp Festival on May 5, 1990.  We introduced the Do-Dah Parade as a central part of those early Flimps, and it grew to include a diverse assortment of wonderful pets in costume, and some adventurous owners who dressed up as well.

Do-Dah.Lennox.blogThe original Do-Dah parades were eventually discontinued, however in 2014 a number of factors led the Museum to revive the Do-Dah tradition.  First, the Hannah Daye Ridling Bark Park opened in 2013 providing dogs and their families a safe place to play.  Then, in 2014, the Museum entered into a partnership with the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to present the annual Flimp Festival, and we jointly approached the Montgomery Humane Society (sponsors of our Bark Park neighbors) to re-institute the Do-Dah tradition.  Our goals were to incorporate the BTW students as co-organizers and participants, and to bring greater visibility to the efforts of the Montgomery Humane Society to find loving families for shelter dogs. We continued this new tradition of Do-Dah at this year’s Flimp, and we are delighted to report that our participation grew.Do-Dah.awards.blog

About fifty amazing dog and their human companions gathered on a perfect May morning to strut their stuff, and compete for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place gift cards generously donated by
Pet Supermarket.  The Parade was led by Jazz band musicians from BTW, and our judges, Alabama News Network anchor Tim Lennox and Museum Director Mark Johnson, awarded prizes to winners who achieved the most creative costumes and ensembles.   Students from BTW escorted 10 costumed dogs from the Montgomery Humane Shelter in the Parade, and later presented them to potential adoptive families in the adoption tent from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. The folks at For Healthy Pets provided gift packets of healthful and tasty products for adopters that day.

Do-Dah.pup.blogWe appreciate all the participants who made this second revival of the Do-Dah Parade and Adoption Event a great success—musicians, parading dogs and people, judges, and volunteers.  We particularly thank the BTW student escorts, and the volunteers from the Montgomery Humane Society who took such good care of the shelter dogs for the day.  Finally, we again thank our sponsors Pet Supermarket, For Healthy Pets, Barking Lot Grooming Salon, and Groomin’ Tails Pet Salon for their sponsorship of prizes for the Do-Dah Parade, and for contributing to the on-going welfare of pets in the Montgomery area.

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

The Flimp Festival Draws in a Record-Breaking Crowd

FlimpartsandcraftsLast Saturday, May 2, proved to be one of the most memorable dates in the Flimp Festival’s history. When everyone arrived at Blount Cultural Park, the friendly faces of the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School teachers, students, and Museum staff greeted them. This accompanied by great weather made it a perfect setting for our 2700 guests.

The annual event kicked off at 10 A.M. with registration for the Do-Dah Parade. This year, we had nearly 50 people and their dogs dressed in costumes marching to the tune of “When the Saints go Marching In,” led by BTW’s jazz band. At the end of the parade, three lucky winners received awards for the best ensembles. The Montgomery Humane Society also brought in 10 dogs in hopes of finding them permanent homes.FlimpDo-Dah

FlimpChalkartOur Sidewalk Chalk Art competition was another main attraction at the Festival. The MMFA used the theme “Montgomery: The Past, Present and Future.” There were more than 70 entries in the student and adult categories. What a fantastic display of talent!

The arts and crafts proved to be the most popular of all. Visitors got a chance to make hats, get their faces painted, create creatures like ladybugs with clay, or shape copper into jewelry. Dave Holland, a non-traditional artist and musician, received rave reviews after encouraging the audience to be a part of his percussion session.

Voices of BTW’s choir and the music from the school’s band could be heard throughout the Blount Cultural Park. As the Flimp Festival came to an end, we saw many families taking pictures capturing memories of another great year at the MMFA.Flimpband

Cynthia Milledge
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

 

Director’s Circle Dinner 2015

Ryder.TwoFigures.blogWhile Monday night, April 13, was dark and dreary, the Museum shone with the warmth of early springtime.  Our annual Director’s Circle Dinner serves to thank our loyal supporters, and this year the dinner also celebrated the opening of Masterworks of the Move: American Paintings from Wesleyan College. Chauncey Ryder’s Two Figures in a Landscape from the Wesleyan Collection was reproduced on the invitation to the event, and served as seasonal inspiration in color and tone.

Director's Circle 10Longstanding dinner sponsors Margaret and Jimmy Lowder of The Colonial Company and Gene and Ray Ingram of Jack Ingram Motors joined MMFA director Mark Johnson and his wife Amy in welcoming over 150 guests to the annual April dinner. Friends enjoyed visiting over cocktails in the Rotunda and viewing the exhibition nearby before making their way to the Lowder Gallery for a sumptuous dinner.Director's Circle 1

In his brief remarks, Mark thanked everyone for their dedication to the Museum and enumerated some of the highlights of the last year. He then welcomed special guest Lisa Sloben, Director, Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Wesleyan College who spoke about the collection on view. In closing, Board of Trustees’ President Roger Spain reminded our guests of the MMFA’s mission to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art of the highest quality for the enrichment, enlightenment, and enjoyment of our public, and thanked them for allowing us to do just that.

If you are interested in helping to further the mission of the Museum by joining our Director’s Circle, please feel free to contact me at jbarry@mmfa.org or 334-240-4344.

Jill Barry
Deputy Director

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