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Bazaar d’Art will feature ten works by Selma painter John Lapsley

Lapsley_Flower_Market_BLOGFor those interested in collecting work by Southern artists, this year’s Bazaar d’Art will present a very rare opportunity to acquire paintings by the Selma artist John Lapsley (1915–2005). Lapsley was an important Alabama painter/printmaker whose works date from the 1930s into the early part of the twenty-first century. The works being offered in the MMFA’s biennial silent auction reflect his passionate interest in the style of the French Post-Impressionists such as Edouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940), Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), and the great French modernist Henri Matisse (1869–1944). His bright, colorful, and light-filled compositions were inspired by the style of these artists, however his subject matter was typically taken from his hometown in Selma, or the landscape and cultural environment of the American South.

Paintings by John Lapsley have graced the walls of central Alabama homes for many years; he was a prolific artist who exhibited widely during his later career. However, it is very unusual for ten works of this quality to be offered at one time. This opportunity has been made possible by a very generous donation from the Estate of Betty Baldwin, and by Nancy Buzard, both long-time Museum supporters. Betty’s nieces—Marcia Weese, Shirley Weese Young, and Kate Weese—joined with Nancy to make this wonderful gesture in support of the Lapsley_Sailboats_blogMuseum’s programs and mission in memory of their aunt, who passed away last year. Betty and Nancy were friends of the artist, and most of the works offered were acquired by them around the time they were painted. This circumstance makes this opportunity even more unusual, as when purchased on the secondary market, there are often questions regarding a work’s origin or its condition.

The works will go on view Saturday, February 21, at 10:00 A.M. and remain open for silent bidding until the Bazaar d’Art cocktail party on Thursday, March 5, beginning at 7:00 P.M. You may buy advance tickets at this link or call 334-240-4333 for more information.

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

Invitation to the Ball Draws Hundreds of Guests


Last Thursday night we held an Opening Reception for our Winter exhibitions with over 700 guests joining us for the first look at the new shows.  With Invitation to the Ball: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Fancy Dress Costumes and Reflections: African-American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection we are showcasing two remarkable women who collected significant objects representing the art of their times.  In the 1920s, Post was married to financier  E.F. Hutton and their lifestyle epitomized the Roaring Twenties. The costumes on view were worn to fundraising balls during the social season held every Spring in Palm Beach.

IMG_2014a_blogMyrna Colley-Lee’s collection represents her own world view, melding intimate scenes from black Americans’ daily lives with her own interests in textiles and in family life. This collection is a “reflection” of these interests, seen through artwork she purchased from some of the finest artists of the 20th century. Ms. Colley-Lee will be at the Museum on February 19th for a reception followed by a discussion of her collection with Curator of Art, Jennifer Jankauskas.  I hope you’ll join us.

P1000923a_blogP1000926a_blogIn conjunction with Reflections, the ARTWORKS gallery opened Life Reflections a student art show. We also opened the final hanging of the Rewind series with Rewind: Art of the 1980s and Canaletto’s Vedute Prints: An Exhibition in Honor of Adolph Weil, Jr.

Thank you to all who joined us last week and special thanksP1000922a_blog to our exhibition sponsors: Hyundai, Max Credit Union, Servisfirst Bank, Doug’s 2 Salon-Spa, Morgan Stanley, Dr. Marla Wohlman and John Crews, Laura and Mike Luckett, The Children of Jean and Bucks Weil, Winifred and Charles A. Stakley, Alatrust, Aliant Bank, and Regions.

Jill Barry
Deputy Director for Development


Conversations with New Docents

At the MMFA, docents are volunteer guides who attend in-depth training sessions in order to provide tour services for visitors the Museum.  They also participate in guest lectures, supplemental programs, and support the Museum by maintaining current Museum membership. They come from diverse backgrounds and careers, have different levels of experience with art, and exhibit a variety of fine talents. The positive and professional group of incoming docents for 2014–2015 has already started leading tours and integrating themselves into the fabric of the Museum. Conversations with these volunteers reveal their passion for learning about art, their enthusiasm for engaging with young people, and their enjoyment of interaction with other docents and Museum staff. They are people who are willing to go above and beyond to serve their community.  My conversations with the new docent class are summarized below.



Julie GoolsbyJulie_Goolsby-blog

Julie was motivated to become a docent when she noticed her third grade students’ responses to the paintings at the MMFA. She was impressed by their excitement at visiting the museum as well as their insightful interpretations of the artwork. Julie enjoys learning about different artists, talking about paintings, and meeting new friends. She loves children and is obviously very excited about participating in the docent program.


Phyllis_Hall-blogPhyllis Hall

Although Phyllis has no formal background in art, she has always loved and appreciated the beauty of art, whether traditional or unorthodox. Jeannette Siegers, a volunteer at MMFA, recognized Phyllis’ love of literature and encouraged her to come on board at the Museum. After taking an online look at the program, Phyllis contacted Alice Novak, who encouraged her to visit the Museum and to sit in on a discussion session. Phyllis enjoys the docent training, in particular hearing the stories behind the compositions, learning how different time periods of art history are reflected in the artists’ works, and mostly just learning in depth about art from a more technical standpoint.


 Andy HuffmanAndy_Huffman-blog

It was at MMFA’s annual FLIMP Festival in May 2014 that Andy and her mother found out about the docent program from Pam Moulton, a long-serving docent. Interested, they decided to come and sit in on a training session. They liked what they heard and saw. Andy has been drawing most of her life and started painting in the 8th grade, or for about ten years now. As a painter, she enjoys learning about art and gaining inspiration for new styles and new subject matter with which to experiment. Moreover, she enjoys interacting with her fellow trainees as well as with children and adults. Andy considers her style of painting realistic; however, she is becoming drawn to the impressionist style.


Dorothy_Johnson-blogDorothy Johnson

Dorothy worked as an auditor with the Federal Government while traveling with her husband Dennis, who spent 22 years as a Commander in the U.S. Navy. When they returned to Montgomery in 1992, she began working at the Alabama State Bar, retiring from that position in August of 2014. Her friend Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, MMFA’s Curator of Art, suggested that Dorothy consider becoming a docent. She enjoys the training, especially the historical lessons behind the art, and now finds herself reading a lot more about history.


Rosemary McKenzieRosemary_McKenzie-blog

As a child, Rosemary traveled with her parents a lot, and they always visited museums. In college, she took art history courses and went to Europe where she was exposed to the art there. Previously, she was a docent in Laurel, Mississippi and loved the experience. When she moved here, her next door neighbor suggested that, because Rosemary loved art, she should consider becoming a docent at MMFA. She loves learning and talking about art, taking it apart piece by piece and examining the details. Rosemary was impressed by how many people came to the Museum for the recent Holiday Open House.


Nancy_Moss-blogNancy Moss

Nancy had never thought about being a docent before she came to the Museum’s book club, Ekphrasis, and listened as docents were talking about their experiences. There definitely was an air of excitement and sincerity, so she decided to give it a try. Nancy enjoys learning about art, for she knew very little before. Having retired, she has more time to think about art. She believes the MMFA is truly a public place, reaching out to all people of different age groups.


Mary Lil OwensMaryLil_Owens-blog

Mary Lil took two art history courses during her senior year of college—as an afterthought. She has always loved art and that is one reason she was interested in becoming a docent. She enjoys the art history lectures and discussions, and seeing the artwork “up close and personal” is wonderful. The MMFA, she notes, offers many opportunities for people to get involved. Clearly, the Museum is here for the community. Formerly, Mary Lil was a high school English teacher, track coach, (she was on the track team in high school), and lawyer.


Laura_Roth-blogLaura Roth

At the MMFA’s Ekphrasis book club meetings and a couple of short courses, Laura met some docents who encouraged her to become involved in the program. Her two sisters love art, and she has visited several well-known museums. Participating in the docent program, Laura loves learning the history of the paintings and finds the stories interesting. For twenty-five years, she was a teacher of third and fourth graders.


Penny ThompsonPenny_Thompson-blog

A former school librarian, Penny has much experience working with students. Thus far in her training, she has presented some Outreach sessions and is amazed at what students have to say about the art. Penny considers it a pleasure to visit the public school classrooms because the children are excited about coming to the MMFA. She loves listening to Alice Novak’s lectures, and enjoys learning in such a beautiful environment.


Eleanor Lee
New Docent Liaison

Oh What Joy!

Oh Whay Joy!“Oh What Joy” was the theme of this year’s Docent Holiday Party. Docents are volunteer educators.  The theme exemplifies the joy docents bring not only to the public by opening up the wonder of art but to museum staff as well.  Their generosity of time and spirit is much appreciated.    

The Holiday Party began with cocktails, followed by a delightful dinner prepared by Jennie Weller Catering, and ended with gifts and door prizes.  As a special addition to the party, docents and staff sang Happy Birthday to Dot Jones, who recently turned 85.   Approximately 40 docents along with their guests attended the party.

Jill Byrd
Tour Coordinator

Holiday Open House 2014

HOH_2332blogOn the afternoon of Saturday, December 6th, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts was alive with music, laughter, song and good cheer as more than 1, 000 people celebrated the 19th annual Holiday Open House.

While the event was free, guests brought donations of food for the Montgomery Area Food Bank and toys for Toys for Tots to fill the barrels in the foyer.

HOH_528blogHorse and carriage rides took delighted guests through the park. Docents were on hand to lead discussions of several of the Museum’s exhibitions. Everyone enjoyed the musical performances by BTW Piano students, Carr Middle School, Phillip Perry Private Lesson Students, Brewbaker Middle School & Trinity High School.HOH_2261blog

Sounds of “there he is!” could be heard as children spotted Santa on his huge red chair waiting to listen to their wishes.

HOH_2308blogChildren of all ages left the studios with a variety of art projects: decorated reindeer food bags, ornaments made by painting juice cans lids, centerpieces created from fruit juice cans covered with holiday wrap holding spruce & holly while the frames of slides of landscapes, portraits & still lifes were decorated and three attached together.

Over 120 dozen cookies made by volunteers, staff, Chappy’s Deli & The Fresh Market were consumed along with gallons of lemonade and hot cider.

All agreed this was a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Gloria Simons
Volunteer Coordinator





New Leadership at the Museum Store

P1000794a-blogA new face, with a hint of familiarity, is now taking a leadership role in the Museum Store. His name is Ward Chesser and he has been a part of the MMFA family since October. He fills the position recently vacated by Kay Jacoby who retired after five years.

Chesser says, “Normally when people come in, I tell them of the Museum being here for 25 years. I also talk about the many artists who have great artworks for sale, like Tallahassee, Florida native Mary Proctor who is a self-taught artist. She has work on display here at the store and at the Coca-Cola museum in Georgia.”P1000787-blog

Chesser is no stranger to the retail arena. He once marketed his own work, and still works as an event planner in his spare time.   He says, “I once said to myself, this would be a unique place to work.” He never dreamed it would happen until he got the call. Chesser says, “It’s a great fit for me.”

When asking him his biggest challenge of being on the job for two months? Chesser says it is, “Increasing sales. I would love to have a record everyday. We have so many unique things for great prices. Being an artist, a unique gift means so much.”

P1000786a-blogI quickly found that his customer service skills go well beyond just talking about art. During this interview, customer Sakis Pantazis, who is visiting from Greece, stopped by to shop for a second time. He says, “Ward introduced me to several restaurants in the area.”

As he continues his newest journey and takes the store into the holiday season, he says he looks forward to his own metamorphosis. Ward Chesser encourages art lovers to stop by and take advantage of the unique greeting cards, drawings, pottery, jewelry, books and other items offered at the Museum Store.

The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. and Sunday from 12 Noon to 4 P.M.

Cynthia Milledge
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

A Creative Day for Art Educators

Creative expressions were in abundance during the 2014 Alabama Art Education Association (AAEA) Convention hosted by the Museum on Friday, November 14. Following the welcoming introduction by Connie Deal, Montgomery Academy teacher and AAEA president elect for 2015, more than 140 art educators from all around the state began their art journey, rotating round robin style through six hands-on workshops during the day. The conference theme, “Art Journey”, was a fitting one, as the educators were introduced to significant works of art and explored connecting lessons for their classrooms.

aaea_2Evelyn Shoults, St. James Academy teacher, demonstrated silkscreen printing techniques and helped participants make prints using embroidery hoops and fabric as simple silkscreens, while Connie Deal encouraged teachers to explore bleach pen drawing on fabric aprons. Tim Brown, MMFA Curator of Education, led “Tim Talks”, sharing his favorite art apps and tech resources for teachers, and Montgomery Academy teacher and artist Camilla Armstrong inspired everyone to paint loosely with quick exercises focusing on color, value and contrast. Donna Pickens, MMFA Assistant Curator of Education, led the participants in creating art masks made of air dry clay, inspired by the African art exhibition. MMFA docents Gloria Simons, Pamela Swan, and Alma Freeman led guided tours of two major museum exhibitions. The workshops also referenced works of art from both of the exhibitions.

Lunch and dinner were served in the Lowder Gallery, beautifully decorated by BeeLee Tullos and some of the Montgomery Academy parents. During lunch, Jessica Balsley, a nationally recognized art educator, inspired teachers to retain their passion for teaching art over the years with her suggestions for coping with school systems that often discourage creativity. She also shared thoughts about her journey as a classroom art teacher and now as the director of her online website.

aaea_1Educators of the year at the elementary, middle school, secondary, higher education, and museum levels were recognized during the AAEA awards program during dinner. The evening ended with an “Arty Party” in the Museum studios, as participants visited the artist market and created whimsical hats and edible art (drawings with edible markers on marshmallows placed on skewers).

On Saturday another round of workshops and discussions was hosted by the Montgomery Academy. All in all, the convention was very successful, and the MMFA received praise from many participants, some of whom were visiting for the first time. Hopefully many of the educators will bring their students for tours in the future. At the end of the conference, Jessica Balsley stated that the Museum was the most beautiful venue she had ever spoken in around the country. She plans to feature scenes from the MMFA on her art of Ed webpage, followed by 18,000 art educators!

Donna Pickens
Assistant Curator of Education

Don’t Miss the Fifth Annual Artist Market

Randy_shoults_1136Just in time for the holiday season, 30 local and regional artists will showcase their outstanding works of art this coming weekend at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art’s highly acclaimed Artist Market 2014. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to find one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for everyone on your list.

The festivities kick off Friday, November 21, with a Preview Party from 5:30 to 8 P.M.

You can shop and get up close and personal with the artists while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The fun continues on Saturday, November 22, from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Shop early on either day to get the best selection of all the wonderful works that will be


This year’s featured special artist is Elayne Goodman of Columbus, Mississippi, a contemporary self-taught artist who will show her distinctive, brilliantly colored decorative objects. Other artists on hand will be potter Margaret Barber, stone craftsman Brooks Barrow, potter Dianne Benefield, book maker Robin Birdwell, leather artisan Pam Buwalda, painter Joan DiLaura, and mixed media artist Darrell Ezekiel. The showcased artworks include pottery, drawings, and paintings and a host of other media.CarolineW_Sayre_w


Store_artist.blogWhile you are here, feel free to stop by the Museum Store from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. to shop for even more examples of artist-made works, or make a reservation for the special “Artist Market Edition” of our popular Saturday Brunch at Café M from 10 A.M. till 2 P.M.

Artist Market 2014 is sponsored by STIFEL investment services. For more information, call 240-4333 or go to this link on the website We look forward to seeing you at Artist Market 2014.


Cynthia Milledge
Public Relations and Marketing Director



1991-IV Looking Like New Again

Museum staff recently reinstalled the three graceful, gilded, 14-foot-long aluminum arcs in the lake adjacent to the building—just in time for the arrival of wintering flocks of cormorants that love to perch on the kinetic sculpture and circle above tasty, unsuspecting fish.

In fact, it was the strong talons of these large waterfowl that abraded the original gold leaf applied by the artist, Edward Lee Hendricks, in 1991 when the sculpture was new. After two decades of seasonal ornithological onslaught, all trace of the gilding was gone, and the golden color contrast with the silvery lake was lost.

Consequently, the museum developed a plan to restore the color by reapplying gold leaf—and adding an innovative new protective clear coating. McKay-Lodge Art Conservation of Oberlin, Ohio proposed and implemented the treatment.

Now viewers can appreciate the site-specific sculpture as the artist intended. The Museum commissioned Hendricks to make the art to link the Museum and its contents with the natural beauty of the park. He purposely sited this sculpture in this place to capitalize on the reflective lake surface, the tree line in the distance, and the wind.

The artist said he wanted to make sculptures that “give physical substance to the grace and power of the wind. Geometric elements of aluminum and stainless steel are carefully designed to maximize their response to the slightest breeze…. The interaction of these elements with wind and sunlight creates a visual counterpoint that is aesthetically satisfying on a very basic level.”

Hendricks’ kinetic sculptures respond beautifully to the forces of nature. With new gilding and a new protective coating, they should satisfy viewers, and cormorants, for years to come.

Restoration of the gold leaf on the arcs was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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

Volunteer Recognition Day at the MMFA

DSCN0811-blog DSCN0823-blog






On October 20th, the Lowder Gallery looked like a launch pad for miniature hot air balloons! The theme for the 2013-14 Volunteer Recognition was “Our Volunteers Help Us Soar Higher.” Seventy volunteers and their guests enjoyed a delicious luncheon catered by Jenny Weller. Director Mark Johnson welcomed all and thanked them for their commitment to the Museum.

Volunteers watched as images of what the various areas of the Museum would look like without them were projected on screen. This was  followed by pictures of the volunteers in action. The last segment showed all members of the staff holding “Thank You” signs. Tim Brown, Curator of Education, did a fantastic job pulling the images together complete with music!

Every year, volunteers contribute their time and talents to the Museum. As volunteer coordinator, and an active volunteer myself, I know the difference that this service can make in the Museum’s programs. I was pleased to work with other Museum staff  to organize the luncheon that recognized each of the following individuals for their outstanding service to the Museum.

Art Auction Award: Ginny Cumbus & Mary Dunn
Technology on the Road Award: Ben Cumbus
Development Leadership Award: Barrie Harmon
Junior Executive Board: Beth Hataway
Special Events Award: Winston Wilson-Reese
Assistance Needed Today Award: Agnes Han
First Impressions Award: Henrietta Macguire, Helen Till
Flimp: FAME group from BTW (Caroline Barmeitler, Stephen Brickley, Mark Bullock, Betty Jackson, Lil Martin, Claudia Mitchell, Edward Patillo, Mamie Sellers)


Embracing Technology: Mattie Dejarnette
Rookie of the Year: Sheryl Rosen
Outstanding Contribution to The Art of Baking and Cakewalk Tour: Katherine Danley
Outstanding Contribution to Outreach: Corrine Cau
Outstanding Contribution to Studio: Paula Murphy
Outstanding Contribution to Gallery: Liz Land
Wayne Barto Memorial Award: Cathy Hegji
Pat Wanglie Award: George Jacobsen
100-Hour Club: Paula Murphy, Lou Scott

DSCN0832-blogEach recipient received a certificate of appreciation plus a package of notecards with images by artist James McNeill Whistler. One lucky volunteer at each table got to take home the beautiful floral centerpiece created by Melissa Kendall while every volunteer and guest received cookies in the shape of hot air balloons.

Gloria Simons
Volunteer Coordinator

View highlights from the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon



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