Open Today 10am-9pm

Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

Open Today 10am-9pm

Category: General

What is #GivingTuesday?

Blog.Giving.1We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals; Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company, or your organization to give a little bit more—share, inspire, make a difference.

Of course if you need help figuring out where you can donate your time or money, we want you to consider the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. When you make a gift to MMFA #GivingTuesday, your donation will be matched by philanthropists Corinna and Barry Wilson. In addition, because our community provides  the majority of operating costs for the Museum through the City of Montgomery, your gift can be used for the stuff that really has an immediate impact!

For example, your money will provide educational programs both here at the Museum and in underserved areas of the community like the Alabama Department of Youth Services’ Mt. Meigs Campus, and at E.D. Nixon Community Center. Your gifts will also be used to present exciting special exhibitions like Once & Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman. Additionally, private funds support the Museum’s important core mission—care of our permanent collections, as well as the scholarship that enhances our ability to utilize the collections for students and other visitors.

Most importantly, your donations continue to enable the MMFA to remain a free attraction to Montgomery area residents and visitors from around the U.S. and the world. This allows all families to enjoy new cultural experiences regardless of income.

Are you looking to volunteer in order to serve or make a difference? Check out these amazing volunteer opportunities at the Museum.Ants.1

This season, keep the most authentic and truly meaningful holiday spirit in your heART, and find a way to give back to your community on #GivingTuesday. We hope when you’re making those plans, you’ll put the MMFA at the top of your list!

Jen Eitzmann
Development Officer

Behind the Scenes—Installing Once & Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman

Blog.LipmanOn Saturday, November 14, 2015, the MMFA will open our newest exhibition for the fall season, Once & Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman.  Featuring seven sculptures and eight photographs, this is the largest exhibition of artist Beth Lipman’s work to date. While her sculptures allude to seventeenth-century still-life paintings, her three-dimensional interpretations of these historical canvases offer pointed commentary on contemporary art and life. (At left: Artist Beth Lipman during installation at the MMFA)

Putting together these large-scale sculptures—assemblages of hundreds of individual glass objects—is not a straightforward process, but rather is an intricate dance of placement, gluing with silicone, and timing. To create this exhibition in our galleries Lipman arrived at the Museum on November 4. Since then, she has worked many long days on several pieces at once, adding new layers, allowing the silicone to dry, and coming back to each of the sculptures to add additional elements day after day.  Lipman’s works often defy gravity—glass vines, pitchers, swags, and vessels break free of the confines of their tables, bursting beyond their edges to dangle unsupported in space.  Pushing the glass material to the point of breakage, while simultaneously highlighting its strength, Lipman’s precarious compositions are fraught with a sense of immediacy and tension. Watching the artist in action as she builds these complex installations demonstrates Lipman’s mastery over her process, and the results are stunningly beautiful feats of exemplary creative engineering!  Accompanying the sculptures are equally impressive photographic representations of Lipman’s glass objects portrayed in two-dimensional splendor, revealing yet another aspect of the artist’s approach to her work.

Once & Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman is accompanied by the first full-scale, illustrated catalogue of the artist’s work, produced by the MMFA and available in the Museum Store.  The exhibition is touring to two other venues, The Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee (on view from March 11, to June 12, 2016) and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (on view September 22, 2016 to January 7, 2017).

Please stop by the MMFA between November 14, 2015 and January 31, 2016, to see the results of Beth Lipman’s hard week’s work of installation—the culmination of her many years of experience creating art the in splendid medium of glass.Blog.Lipman.1

Jennifer Jankauskas
Curator of Art, and the exhibition

The MMFA Salutes Our Invaluable Volunteers

VolRec.1.BlogOn Tuesday evening, October 27, the Museum held its annual Volunteer Recognition awards banquet.  The dinner and ceremony were held in the Rotunda with over 70 volunteers coming out to celebrate their many contributions to the MMFA.  The night began with a cocktail hour followed by a fall-themed dinner catered by Jennie Weller Catering and Events that included a menu of spiced pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables, a sweet potato bar, and peach cobbler.

Current Board of Trustees President Roger Spain gave a warm welcome, followed by remarks from MMFA staff Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, Curator of Art, Alice Novak, Assistant Curator of Education, and Madeline Burkhardt, Volunteer Coordinator, who also presented the evening’s awards. The first award, for Outstanding Leadership, was presented by Mr. Spain to Board of Trustees member and past President of the Board of Trustees, Barrie Harmon.  Barrie was recognized for his many contributions through the sponsorship of temporary exhibitions, as well as his current, critical leadership of the campaign to fund the MMFA’s new Sculpture Garden.Blog.VOLREC.5

Other winners announced during the event included Jarrod Cowans,(pictured at left below) who was named Rookie of the Year, and Karla Hodges (at right, pictured on the left with MMFA educator Donna Pickens), winning the First Impressions award for her work at the Information Desk. Luigi Edwards received the award for FLIMP Festival support, recognizing her multiple years of service ensuring that this amazing event goes off without a hitch.   Vol.Rec.3.BlogCayla Hamilton, Jamie Reschke, and LaKendrick Taylor were named Outstanding Interns for their assistance to  Museum staff with photography projects, digital design work, and educational outreach programs.

The award for leading the Most Successful Bazaar d’Art went to Courtney Kershaw; the Fundraising Excellence Award for Art in Concert went to Harrison Hawke; the Development Leadership Award went to C.J. Hincy; and awards for the Last Call events sponsored by the Junior Executive Board were given to Rachael Gallagher, Allison Muhlendorff, and Erika Tracy. Docents who won awards during their graduation ceremony this past spring were also recognized.

We cannot thank all our volunteers enough for the hundreds of hours of their time donated to help the Museum! There are many opportunities to serve your Museum and your community by volunteering at the MMFA. If you are interested in volunteering at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, please contact Madeline Burkhardt at

(at right: Assistance Needed Today award winner Margaret Arthur, with MMFA educator Alice Novak.)


Madeline Burkhardt
Volunteer Coordinator

Art in Concert 2015

Art in Concert 2015, FuturebirdsWe could not have asked for better weather for the 4th Annual Art in Concert on Friday, October 16, organized by our Junior Executive Board (JEB). Local DJ Kevin Nutt opened the show turning the tables with fantastic tunes that really got the crowd going.  Over 400 people were on hand to welcome the headlining act The FUTUREBIRDS to Montgomery.  Hailing from Athens, GA but currently based in Atlanta, the FUTUREBIRDS are an incredible up-and-coming band on the verge of national recognition.  True to form, they played an amazing live show that had the crowd dancing long into the night.  Highlights included new songs from their album Hotel Parties and a great cover of Brooks and Dunn’s Neon Moon.

The side lawn was the perfect venue for the concert during which people enjoyed some great food catered by Jennie Weller Catering and Events, and craft beer from Back Forty Brewing Company located in Gadsden, AL.  We were fortunate to have the support of our key sponsors Auburn University at Montgomery, MATTER and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; their generosity helped make the night the tremendous success that it was.  The Junior Executive Board, under the direction of president CJ Hincy, has decided to donate the proceeds, which were in excess of $10,000, to education programs within the Museum, as well as to our community art outreach programs benefitting many within the River Region.  We additionally want to thank key JEB members Allison Muhlendorf, Rachael Gallagher, Erika Tracy, and Harrison Hawke for their marketing, fund raising, and logistical work.Art in Concert 2015.2

The Junior Executive Board is looking for new members for the upcoming year. If you are interested in joining this dynamic group of MMFA supporters, please send a cover letter and resume to Deputy Director Jill Barry, for consideration before December 1.

Blake Rosen
MMFA Special Events Coordinator

The Fall Edition of DiVine Lunch and Artist in Action

cafe.33Please join us for what promises to be a great afternoon of delectable food and beautiful art on Thursday, October 15,  with DiVine Lunch, 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. and Artist in Action, 12 noon to 2 P.M.

The menu for DiVine Lunch will start with a delicious Callaloo soup made of leafy greens typical of Caribbean dining accented with a southern twist of Ambrosia Salad. Our partnership with United Johnson Brothers, LLC., wine distributors continues and their suggestion of either a crisp Equilibrium white blend or a smooth Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay will pair perfectly with the soup and salad combo.

The second course continues the Latin American theme using cumin and paprika to spice up the tomato sauce covering a quinoa and lentil hash, which may be accompanied by your choice of Lamb Pops, Braised Grouper or Cheese and Bread Stuffed Mirliton Squash. The squash often referred to as Mirliton in Haitian or Creole cultures, is better known in the states by another moniker, the chayote. It is smaller in size and green in color. Depending upon your entrée choice, either the A to Z Pinot Noir (which received a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator) or the Cambria Chardonnay will enhance your dining experience.Café M

Last, but certainly not least, the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake uses spiced chocolate to create an interesting spin on a classic dessert. We are excited to be working with Goat Hill Roasters, an original coffee roasting company located in Montgomery, for the first time. The owners will bring their unique coffee blend to the Museum from their mobile store downtown.

Betty Carroll BlogMake sure to stop by the Museum Store to see Betty Carroll, our Artist in Action. She will be working on a fall lake scene with the vibrant colors of the changing foliage reflecting on the water’s surface. She has been a great addition to the Museum Store and her landscapes are always in high demand. So make sure to meet her as she brings fall colors to life as the Artist in Action.

Reservations are strongly recommended for DiVine Lunch; please call 334.240.4339 as soon as possible to insure a not-to-be-missed dining experience. The cost is $20 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Upcoming DiVine Lunch dates are Thursday, January 21 and Thursday, April 21, 2016.

Blake Rosen,
Special Events Coordinator


A Day in Historic Eufaula with the Collectors Society

EufaulaCollector'sSociety1On Thursday, October 1, the Collectors Society took a splendid excursion to Eufaula. Doug Purcell, Executive Director Emeritus of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, led the tour of historic architecture and collections.

The day began at the neo-classical Shorter EufaulaCollector'sSociety#2Mansion (1884, renovated 1906) where Mayor Jack Tibbs warmly welcomed the group. Ann Hubbert, who has been a part of Collectors Society since its inception, remarked that going to Shorter Mansion was a highlight both for its beauty and remarkable history. She was also glad she ascended to the cupola at Fendall Hall in order to enjoy the view.

EufaulaCollector'sSociety#3The group enjoyed lunch on the porch of the Italianate-style Fendall Hall (1860). Afterwards the Collectors Society toured the notable murals in the house, which was built by the ancestors of Lucy Jackson, who was on the tour. The last residence, the Petry-Honan House (1868), is still in the hands of the family that bought it in the 1870’s and retains its original detached kitchen. The final stop was the Eufaula Athenaeum, which houses special collections related to Barbour County in a historic drug-store building (1850’s) located downtown.

EufaulaCollector'sSociety#4Jane Barganier articulated the impact of the day, “We went to a small town that is proud of their EufaulaCollector'sSociety#6history, and they are keeping it alive. I was reminded that the culture of small towns is just as important as that of major cities. We should all be proud of the communities in our state, such as Eufaula and Selma, that have worked so hard to preserve their heritage in their homes, buildings, and art and have so much to contribute in terms of interesting people, history, artists, and writers. The day was fun, it was interesting, and studying history is so terribly important. ”

The Collectors Society will hear from glass sculptor Beth Lipman next month, in conjunction with Once and Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman. The group is also looking forward to a visit to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see the exhibition Hapsburg Splendor, a luncheon lecture with the Chief Historian of the History Channel, and more. It is not too late to join for this year. If you would like to be part of the Collectors Society, please contact Alice Novak at 334-240-4362, or at

Alice Novak
Assistant Curator of Education




A Thomas Hart Benton for the MMFA

Benton.BlogThursday, May 21, 2015 marked a significant milestone in the history of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and its collection.  At around 10:30 that morning, the Museum purchased Ozark Autumn, 1949, by the Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889–1975) for its American paintings collection. It is the first painting by one of the three major American Regionalist painters—Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood—to enter the collection.   Acquiring a painting by one of the artists from this particular school of American art was long considered an important goal for our MMFA collection because the Museum owns a significant number of works by Southern Regionalist painters who were contemporaries of Benton and the others. J. Kelly Fitzpatrick and his students formed a “mini-Regionalist” cohort here in the heart of Alabama, and these works were the foundation of the MMFA collection that began in 1930.
Benton.Blog.4Thomas Hart Benton was a controversial and influential character in both the art and social worlds in early and mid-twentieth century America.  After study and the practice of art in Paris and New York, Benton’s outspokenness, writings, and large-scale public mural projects made him a voice for national political and art issues in Depression-era America.  Early in his career he worked for a time as a modernist painter, but he eventually abandoned that style to pursue one rooted in traditional European art, creating murals with distinctly “American” themes that resonated with the public.  He is best known for his mural cycles such as America Today (now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), and his massive composition for the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. His association with Wood and Curry, along with a December 1934, Time magazine cover story about Benton’s work, allowed him to settle into his permanently defined role as a Regionalist painter. (Above: Registrar Pamela Bransford and MMFA Consulting Conservator Larry Shutts examine the Museum’s latest acquisition.)
The acquisition of this critical work was made possible only by the amazing legacy of Ida Belle Young, who bequeathed the Museum funds for the purchase of “traditional American art” upon her death in 2004. However having the resources for a purchase was only one factor in acquiring the appropriate work.  The staff made a concerted effort for more than seven years to locate “the right Benton” before Ozark Autumn became available.  This work possessed two attributes that were considered critical—as a larger scale work in oil and tempera it could be put on long-term view with our other important American paintings (unlike a work on paper which is subject to damage over time from exposure to light), and the subject was an agrarian one depicting a corn harvesting scene.  Since many of our Southern Regionalist works depict the rural South, it was important to us that our Benton reflect that same agrarian tradition.
And yet a second exciting day dawned on August 31, when we finally unveiled this outstanding work of art for our MMFA Board of Trustees. The event, held in the Museum’s Rotunda at 5:30 P.M., celebrated the support of the Board, the generosity of Ida Belle Young, and the City of Montgomery’s ongoing belief in our mission to the community.Benton.Blog.3  The painting was given a very warm and hearty welcome, accompanied by a toast to the memory of Ida Belle Young, whose gift in the form of the Ida Belle Young Art Acquisition Fund had made its acquisition possible.(Right: Acquisition Committee Chairman Winnie Stakely and MMFA President of the Board of Trustees Roger Spain unveil Ozark Autumn)
For any collecting museum the addition of a truly major work of art is a rare event, and one that contributes to the ongoing vitality of the institution.  It takes a concerted team effort to achieve the Museum’s mission “to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret art of the highest quality.” This acquisition of Ozark Autumn, and the many people that worked to get it to Montgomery, is a testament to what that mission statement is really all about.Benton.Blog.2

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

Korean–Language Gallery Talk: Connecting to American History through Art

KoreanTalk.Blog.2On September 17, MMFA Docent Jiyeon Suh led a dynamic Korean-language gallery talk in the exhibition Journey Through the Collection: Docent Choices.  She focused on a section of the exhibition called Remembering the Past, which includes art that addresses American history from the Native American experience to the Civil Rights Movement.  I was lucky enough to be a participant and occasionally heard an English phrase such as “Manifest Destiny” or “flappers” which gave me a sense of the conversation.  At the end I asked Jiyeon, “Did you mention Kevin Costner?” and a few other questions . . .
“What is something about American history as represented in the exhibition that you find particularly interesting?”
Jiyeon: “At the beginning of the gallery talk, I introduced the idea that learning about the major conflicts that define American history helps to understand the social and cultural shifts in this country’s relatively brief history.  We looked at representations of the Civil War, First World War, and Second World War during the gallery talk.  Korean audiences can follow the timeline of American history easily because there are many close relationships to our national history.”   
“What connections to popular culture did you make in the galleries to help people understand the works of art?”
J: “While we were looking at a painting of Plains Indians beside a portrait of a Confederate Solider, I talked about Dances with Wolves, since native cultures and the Civil War are at the heart of the movie.  We also examined works from the 20s and 30s,  and I made connections to The Great Gatsby, which is very well-known in Korea, and a more recent Korean film, Assassination, which is set in 1933.”
“What is your message to your friends about enjoying the Museum?”
J: “The Museum is a wonderful gift to all of the families in Montgomery.  I love the people I meet at the Museum, connecting with my fellow volunteers, and the passion for art here!
With a Korean audience, I like to emphasize that by learning more about American art, history, literature, music, movies, and current issues we can better relate to our children and help them with everything they are studying in school.  It also gives us fun topics to discuss at home! “KoreanTalk.Blog
Many people are looking forward to hearing more from Jiyeon and her perspective on American culture in Journey Through the Collection very soon. 
– Alice Novak, Curator, with Jiyeon Suh

Military Open House Welcomed More Than 600

Military Open House Blog#1World War II veteran Roy McInnis was among the first guests to walk through the door of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts for this year’s Military Open House. “I have been here several times. I was excited about coming,” said McInnis. The 92-year-old joined the many active, reserve, and retired armed forces personnel and their families who participated in the patriotic event hosted by the MMFA Thursday evening, August 20.

MilitaryOpenHouse#9Museum director Mark Johnson and his wife Amy personally greeted many of the guests, including Major General Jocelyn Seng, USAF, who shared her enthusiasm and knowledge of the fine arts on an impromptu tour with Mark.

Military Open House#4Major Nick Van Elsacker and his wife Amanda just moved to Montgomery from Shreveport, Louisiana. “This time of year there is a large influx of students for the Air University.” said Major Elsacker. This is Elsacker’s second time stationed at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. Amanda added, “I saw the advertisement in the paper and I told my husband about it. I love museums.”

Guests enjoyed a dinner of fried fish and chicken complemented with coleslaw, hush puppies, macaroni and cheese, and dessert of bread pudding–all provided by the Museum’s co-sponsor of the evening, Wintzell’s Oyster House. The Lo-Fi Loungers performed in the Lowder Gallery entertaining guests as they ate.

Military Open House#2Retired army Lt. Col. Isaiah Flowers said it’s an honor to be recognized for his service to our country. “Makes you feel good. I think it’s great. This event exposes people to something we should all be coming to but don’t, because we simply aren’t aware of what the Museum has to offer,” said Flowers.

Military Open House#6MilitaryOpenHouse#8-MOHGuests received an early look at the two newest special exhibitions, William Christenberry: Tracing a Line and Journey Through the Collection: Docent Choices, both of which opened early for MOH. Inspired by Christenberry’s drawings, younger visitors created their own tree collages in the studios. Others built clay masks reminiscent of the masks in the Museum’s African exhibition.

The Museum is pleased to offer this annual evening event as a small “thank you” to those who serve our community and our country in the armed forces.  It was a fun evening for everyone involved, and we hope to see our military friends visit often!

Military Open House#596-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran Roscoe Brannon says you can count on him coming back. “I loved it. I am glad my granddaughter Rhonda brought me here.”

Jill Barry
Deputy Director for Development

A First for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Docents BlogThe excitement is mounting! On Thursday evening, August 27 the first ever docent organized and curated exhibition will open. In May of 2014, our docent corps of 45 members was given the unique opportunity of creating an exhibition from beginning to end. It was decided to break down this task into several committees: Selection and Installation, Education Programming, Research and Writing, and Public Relations and Development. All docents were asked for input and most volunteered for one or more of the committees. After many discussions and meetings, works were chosen and it was decided that our exhibition would be titled Journey Through the Collection: Docent Choices. When the selected works were reviewed, it was discovered that they fit into five different categories.

Remembering the Past offers a window into the past, illustrating how events from the past shaped our present and helped us to envision the future.

“Isms” and Styles showcases some of the stylistic trends in 20th-century art and describes these evolving theories in art.

How Do They Do It? helps answer questions the viewer might have about artists’ creative processes and techniques.

Echoes of the South reflects a diverse cultural and personal history that calls to mind the strong sense of place embodied in Southern culture.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words stimulates and challenges the viewer to look closer and discover the stories within each work.

JJ in Maltby Sykes Gall BlogDuring this process, the docents not only became familiar with MMFA’s entire collection but discovered the amount of preparation and work that it takes to mount an exhibition. After the works were selected,  labels were researched and written to help the viewer get a better understanding of the exhibition’s content.

Public Relations and Development not only helped secure funding for the exhibition but made it possible to spread the word through various types of media. The Education Programming committee planned audio tours of some of the works, created a studio activity to be used during Family Day, and arranged for speakers for short courses that will cover the five categories. There will also be a gallery talk in Korean for our local Korean community. All of this could not have been accomplished without the help, support, and enthusiasm of the entire MMFA staff. Thank you.

Gloria Simons

Older Posts:

Page 1 of 712345...Last »