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Category: General

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.)

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$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.

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

Native American Family Day 2015

EV.NativeAM.day.pano

We held Poarch: History in Motion, our second Native American Family Day on Saturday and we certainly were in motion!  Over 1,000 visitors joined us for a full afternoon of activity. Several artisans were on hand helping the kids make decorated medallion necklaces, clay pinch pots and woven baskets in the Poarch tradition.

EV.NativeAM4blogTribal historian, Robert Thrower shared stories and showed Poarch artifacts to guests all afternoon. Through the objects he shared, he explained what life was like in the early days of the Tribe and some of their traditions.

In the field next to the Museum, the drumming group Medicine Tail played while members performed demonstrations of both Stomp Dancing and the elaborate Pow Wow Dances while the younger and more energetic attendees tried their hand at traditional Stick Ball, the predecessor of modern day lacrosse.

EV.NativeAM2blogIn the Rotunda, the premiere of a new photography exhibition Poarch: History in Motion was installed. Beautiful portraits by Karen Odyniec of tribal members were hung next to short stories about them with artifacts from Kerretv Cuko, the Poarch Band of Creek Indian Museum in Atmore.

 

EV.nativeAMERICAN-blogWe were delighted to partner with the Tribe again this year to present such a fun and informative day for the River Region, all of which was free.

Jill Barry
Deputy Director

 

Reflections from a Montgomery Businessman and Civil Rights Activist

Loyd.H.3.blogOn April 2, the Museum hosted a special program to complement the exhibition now on view, History Refused to Die. The speaker was Mr. Loyd Howard, a local businessman who shared his memories of life in Montgomery during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

To watch Mr. Howard walk into the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art’s Orientation Circle, you would think he was a quiet but reserved man. At first, he stopped to scan the room to see who was in attendance at the reception held in his honor. He then spoke to many, smiled at some, and even hugged others.

Loyd.H.2.blogAfter 30 minutes of socializing, he was introduced to a crowd of nearly 50 people. When Mr. Howard walked up to the podium, almost instantly he transformed from a mature business owner of 55 years to a 14-year old teenager growing up in Montgomery, Alabama during a time when discrimination was at an all-time high. He talked about his early life working in a barbershop with Raymond Parks (the husband of Rosa Parks) and others. Mr. Howard said, “Raymond Parks thought he and Mrs. Parks would be killed after she refused to give up her seat. What photographs don’t reveal and people don’t know is, she wasn’t sitting in the white section of the bus. She was actually arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man in the black section of the bus.” Those words had some people in the audience shaking their heads.

Loyd.H.1.blogThe Civil Rights activist also described how blacks learned to unite during this period. He recalled when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Montgomery. Mr. Howard said, “We didn’t even know what a boycott was. They had to teach us what it meant. We were also taught how we needed to react to everything non-violently.” Mr. Howard said it was a movement that pushed the nation towards social reform and he described it as “one of the greatest historical events that the world will ever have.”

As the nation prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott on December 1, 2015, the owner of Howard’s Cosmetics said he hopes his story will help people get another first-hand view of what actually took place during that time. It was so refreshing to have someone who experienced those trials and tribulations in our midst here at the Museum.

Cynthia Milledge
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

 

 

 

 

 

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