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Category: Behind the Scenes

Local Artists Live – Tori Jackson

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes in studios of local artists? On Saturday, May 30, Montgomery artist Tori Jackson will broadcast live on the Museum’s Instagram—opening her studio space to share her artwork, reflect on her inspirations, and offer a live Q&A with her audience! This is a great chance to meet one of our local artists and learn about her creations.


Above is a recording of the May 30 live stream event that was originally broadcast on the Museum’s Instagram account. Click here to follow the Museum on Instagram

Get to Know the Artist

This Saturday, May 30, Local Artists Live will feature Tori Jackson, a painter whose art speaks not only through its distinguishable beauty but also its vibrant heritage. Originally from Prattville, Tori recalls her youth: full of recreation, playing outside with her sister and cousins, picking fresh fruit at her grandma’s house, and constant creative engagement. “I painted anything I could get my hands on,” she says, as she remembers collecting rocks to paint for her mom. Both of her parents and her grandma, Alberta, were all artists who enthusiastically supported her creative pursuits through her early stages.

Tori Jackson, “Annie Lou,” 2015, oil on canvas

Along with joyful memories of exploration and creation, Tori also remembers ridicule growing up, whether stemming from others’ judgment towards or their ignorance of her ancestry. It wasn’t until she was creating work as a live painter and participating in an event at The Sanctuary that she was offered the opportunity to boldly embrace her heritage and share her viewpoint with others through a public platform. Tori recalls meeting Kevin King, when he walked up to her and asked: “Don’t you have Native American ancestry?” She replied, “Yes, African-Native American, mostly.” After this exchange, Kevin connected Tori to Michelle Browder, to take part in Art on the Square, an annual event held in downtown Montgomery that highlights the significance of our city’s history by bringing light to voices often unheard or ignored. As part of the event, Tori performed a traditional Native American dance; this was particularly impactful because it was not only on the same streets that were part of where the Trail of Tears took place but also the very location where slaves used to be auctioned for a penny or less.

As Montgomery evolves, so does our desire to do better, to be better. Read below to learn more about Tori and her art, and how a pure approach to creating is part of her attempt to bring about positive change for our community.

What is your favorite thing about living in the South?

My favorite thing about living in the south is seeing change take place, or hoping that my actions and the actions of those around me will make a change. We have a long way to go.

What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?

What excites me the most is opportunity, for all people and all types of art. My art is very different in comparison to what is typical around here and often I have felt unless I paint a cow, shoe, or a barn I had no chance at winning or being acknowledged. It is just not me to paint such things. I do not like being put in an artistic box. Most artists who paint out of passion do not.

What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?

I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I try to put meaning into all of my paintings and there are so many I can look at and remember exactly where I was and how I was feeling. However, I will say, I did do a portrait of my grandmother (pictured above) and because of the way I feel about her that may be my very own Mona Lisa. She is not always fond of pictures, and I had been begging her for years to let me paint her. The day she finally agreed, I called her that morning and for whatever reason she said, “alright”. I was so excited I’m pretty sure I got in my car within minutes after hanging up to take some pictures of her for reference. I took an elaborate scarf and wrapped it around her head and took her glasses off and she began to pose. That day she felt as beautiful as I’d always thought she was.

Leonard Koscianski (American, born 1952), “Red Fish,” 1990, Oil on canvas, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, 1991.17

What are some works of art in the MMFA’s collection that inspire you?

I have two art pieces that always struck me. One has an orange fish surrounded by long blades of grass (Leonard Koscianski’s Red Fish, 1990; pictured right). The colors have such contrast that the green from the blades of grass and the orange line down the back of the fish look like they are glowing. It’s definitely the colors of that painting that grab me in. My other favorite painting has an almost androgynous woman holding a baby (Gary Chapman’s Mutter und Tochter, 1993). The figures are so detailed and perfectly proportionate. Aside from the figures, the presentation of her body language is so strong. It makes me think of how strong women truly are, but also eliminates the everyday typical appearance of a woman. Every time I see that painting it makes me want to go home and practice my figures that much more.

Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel in the moment?

I’m not keen on claiming to have one favorite painting because my mood changes day to day, hour to hour and I have so many artists I love. However, I have always been fond of Vincent van Gogh. I was fortunate enough to get to travel abroad in college to Paris. While in Paris, we went to three museums, The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and unfortunately another I cannot recall, other than it had contemporary art. I never thought I would get to see Van Gogh’s art in person and I was overwhelmed with emotions; the movement in his paintings is so incredible. I cried right there in the middle of Musee d’Orsay. Michelangelo and Monet were both incredible, too. Water Lilies is huge! Pictures do not do justice.

Tell us about your most preferred place to be on earth. What role, if any, has the energy of that place helped shape you as an artist?

My favorite place to be on earth is probably The Smoky Mountains. The serenity and fresh air is absolutely something that recharges my soul. Having a peaceful mind or wanting to gain a sense of peace is a big part of my process as an artist.

What drives your creativity?

Balance drives my creativity. It is a type of therapy for me. Music festivals have absolutely been a big part of that drive as well. Receiving an opportunity to work next to some of my current favorite artists like Drake Arnold and Steven Teller is an indescribable feeling.

What is your preferred medium?

My preferred medium is oil paint. I had a great teacher my first year in college and we were all required to purchase oil paint. I like it because I can leave a piece and go back to it.

Do you listen to any particular music when you create?

I do not have a particular type of music I listen to when I paint. My music depends on my mood, but my colors depend on my music.

What advice would you give to beginning artists?

My advice would be find your audience. There is no right or wrong in art, because art is subjective. Some people like Picasso in his earlier realism stage, some prefer his later impressionistic stage.

Above: Tori Jackson, Dedicated to Josie Billie (Seminole Medicine Man), 2019, mixed media on CNC cutout

Local Artists Live – Kevin King

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes in studios of local artists? On Saturday, May 16, Montgomery artist Kevin King will broadcast live on the Museum’s Instagram—opening his studio space to share his artwork, reflect on his inspirations, and offer a live Q&A with his audience! This is a great chance to meet one of our local artists and learn about his creations.


Above is a recording of the May 16 live stream event that was originally broadcast on the Museum’s Instagram account. Click here to follow the Museum on Instagram

Get to Know the Artist

Kevin King is the featured artist on this week’s Local Artists Live. Not only an artist, he is also an activist who founded and is the Executive Director of The King’s Canvas, a gallery and studio space that offers opportunities for fostering creativity and learning important life skills. Kevin, whose non-commissioned art focuses on raising awareness of social justice issues, is a man of faith who creates with deep purpose. When asked if he remembers the wisest words ever spoken to him, he quotes a verse from the Bible, Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God…”

Kevin grew up in Mobile, but he recalls visiting his father in Montgomery during spring breaks and summer vacations. A favorite memory from those visits was attending LL Cool J’s Nitro Tour at Garrett Coliseum in 1989. Growing up, he was actively creative through high school, then set art aside until picking it up again in 2013. At that time, he was deeply entrenched in serving West Montgomery; the historical context and connected social issues of this community and city were all constantly at the forefront, inspiring Kevin to create art that addresses controversial issues. Continue reading below to learn about Kevin, his art and process, and be sure to tune in at 10 AM on Saturday, May 16, for his live takeover of the MMFA’s Instagram account!

What is your favorite thing about living in the South?

I have always lived in the south so my favorite thing is the sense of family, community, and hospitality.

What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?

I am excited about more creatives who were more underground and felt unaccepted by the mainstream art community unapologetically being themselves and finding community and opportunity without compromising who they are.

What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?

Do or Die (pictured above). It represents the socially conscious and activism hip hop movement that I grew up listening to.

Do or Die is a depiction of character Radio Raheem from Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do The Right Thing. To me Raheem represents hip hop culture in a way that elevates and celebrates socially conscious protest hip hop such as rap group Public Enemy’s Fight the Power (Listen on Spotify or Apple Music). Do or Die honors young black men in our communities who fall victim to violence at the hands of the police such as the Radio Raheem Character in the movie. Do The Right Thing was inspired by real-life incidents, and the movie ends with a dedication to “families of Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Griffith, Arthur Miller, Edmund Perry, Yvonne Smallwood and Michael Stewart,” all black New Yorkers who had been killed in the years leading up to the film’s release.

Is there an artist represented in the MMFA’s collection whose work speaks strongly to you?

I love Yvonne Wells’ art.

Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel in the moment?

Ernie Barnes’ The Sugar Shack. No, I have not seen it in person.

Tell us about your most preferred place to be on earth. What role, if any, has the energy of that place helped shape you as an artist?

The King’s Canvas studio. It provides the artistic ambiance that I need in order to foster creativity.

What drives your creativity?

The challenge to creatively address issues in our society, especially when there are no available ears to hear your frustrations and an unwillingness to stand up for the voiceless and powerless.

What is your preferred medium?

Acrylic on canvas.

Do you listen to any particular music when you create?

Old School Funk, Jazz, and Hip Hop. It really depends on the subject of the art.

What advice would you give to beginning artists?

Never stop creating.

Above: Kevin King (American), Do or Die, Acrylic on canvas

Local Artists Live – Tara Cady Sartorius

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes in studios of local artists? On Saturday, May 2, Montgomery artist Tara Cady Sartorius will broadcast live on the Museum’s Instagram—opening her studio space to share her artwork, demonstrate a creation that reflects the whimsy of Flimp, and offer a live Q&A with her audience! This is a great chance to meet one of our local artists and learn about her creations.

Left: Tara Cady Sartorius, Running at the Riverfront, 2015, Oil on Board; Right: Photograph of Tara Cady Sartorius


Above is a recording of the May 2 live stream event that was originally broadcast on the Museum’s Instagram account. Click here to follow the Museum on Instagram

Get to Know the Artist

Saturday, May 2, 2020, would have been the Musuem’s 30th annual Flimp Festival, canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with all public programming based on guidelines from the Governor, Mayor, and health officials. In honor of this temporarily unrealized momentous occasion, Local Artists Live will feature the founder of the festival, artist and educator Tara Cady Sartorius. 

Tara’s path to becoming an artist was a natural one, abundantly nourished by a creative, eclectic lifestyle growing up. During her childhood, Tara’s family moved so often that she attended 10 different schools before graduating high school, living on the east and west coasts of the United States and even spending a summer in France. Along with frequently moving, she learned from an early age about the dance of life by observing her seven older siblings and the death of her father when she was just five years old. Her mother, an artist and musician, was an independent thinker and surrounded her children with books, music, and art. Tara’s childhood overflowed with creative activities, and she remembers an obsession with scissors and cutting things, whether they should be cut or not, and specifically recalling that she did not get in trouble for this. 

After earning her undergraduate degree in ceramics from the University of Santa Barbara, a certificate in art teaching while still in California, and eventually her MFA in sculpture and art criticism from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Tara’s journey brought her to Alabama. Her mid-summer move to Montgomery in early adulthood stands out as quite a shock. “Everything was so green it almost hurt my eyes…it was so hot.” Tara came to Montgomery in 1986 to serve as the Curator of Education at the MMFA, a position she held for 21 years. Brought here to oversee the development of the Museum’s new interactive gallery (what we now know as ArtWorks), Tara’s artistic vision and educational philosophy kept the MMFA’s engagement with the community fresh, fun, and ever-evolving. She believes now, as she did then, that “the pursuit of knowledge should be motivated by curiosity.” This philosophy radiates through the merging of whimsical art and FUNdamental learning, all embodied in the Flimp Festival, held annually during the first weekend of May at the start of spring. We asked Tara a few questions about Flimp, living in the south and Montgomery, and reflections on art and art-making.

What sparked the founding of the Flimp Festival?

The idea for the Flimp Festival came right around the opening of the new Museum in 1988. At that time a group of us from the Museum used to go down to the beach to spend long weekends in Seaside way before it was very developed. One evening we all decided the museum needed a “signature” event and our brainstorming led us to [Geneva Mercer’s] Flimp Fountain and the Flimp Festival. We had lots of laughs but then got somewhat serious about it (in a fun way) as we gave it a mission (imagination, humor, and creativity) and chose components according to those three values. 

Do you have an all-time favorite Flimp memory?

One of my favorite memories was the performance piece that Robin VanLear created the evening before Flimp. It was a spectacular group effort with costumes, lanterns, a boat, and a house-like construction (built by Robin) on the “island” across the lake. At dusk, performers holding bamboo sticks with round paper lanterns on the ends slowly streamed out of the museum and surrounded the lake, evenly spaced around the water. One by one the performers lit their lanterns in the direction of the house. At the same time, another performer was in a canoe with a “guide” being paddled across the lake. As they reached the shore below the house, the “guide” got out of the canoe and walked toward the house as one of our interns, Andrea Potochick, walked all the way across the slippery weir. Both figures then simultaneously appeared to “light” an electric light in the house, which was covered in a translucent white paper. After the performance that night, there was a huge storm and the house was struck by lightning. Flimp is just magical that way! 

What is your favorite thing about living in the South?

I like that if I so much as scratch the surface of humanity around here, there can be a great outpouring of love. Southerners seem desperate to connect. I like that. The people I have met here are incredible, and I love the language and the double entendres, and I especially appreciate the lack of ability to assume anything about anyone. I have grown to be defensive and protective of the South in terms of culture and interpersonal human caring. The humanity here is way more complicated than it gets credit for. The tension between the races and socio-economic strata are palpable, and I wonder if reconciliation will ever be possible. My approach is entirely one-on-one. 

What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?

I have seen several times when Montgomery’s art scene seems to be growing, and then it pulls back, and then it grows again. I have great respect and confidence in the artists I know and the arts institutions with which I have become involved or familiar. It does seem that there is a lot of duplication, but there may be a need for that if one institution, organization, or group cannot fit all needs. I am liking the current growing appreciation for diversity. It’s about time! 

What is your favorite work of art from the MMFA’s collection, and what specifically about the artwork speaks strongly to you?

That is an impossible question to answer. The answer may change from day-to-day depending on my mood. Because I have written and researched so many of the works in the collection, I feel them very close to my heart. In playing this “judgment game” I recognize that there could be a difference between “my favorite” and a piece I would love to have in my home to look at every day–but here are some favorites, in no particular order:

Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel at the moment?

It doesn’t matter what the artwork is, because the influence is what it is more about. Sometimes art appeals to me because of its intellect, sometimes I find things funny, and other times pieces are technically and visually arresting. If it’s worth doing, it is worth doing to a high degree of excellence. When I see excellence, I might cry. That’s when I know I have a “favorite.”

Tell us about your most preferred place to be on earth. What role, if any, has the energy of that place helped shape you as an artist?

The ocean: Beside the ocean or in the ocean, but not ON the ocean. I don’t enjoy being on a boat. I like being on the shore with waves that I can hear in a rhythmic pattern. When I die, cremate me, and then please scatter my ashes at More Mesa Beach in Santa Barbara. Cast them gently into the water while you are wading up to your knees.

What drives your creativity?

Curiosity, the need for quiet, the joy of tinkering, the desire to share beauty with others. That does not mean that everything must be literally beautiful, but the feeling must be strong and must access the same deep wellspring from whence beauty emerges. 

What is your preferred medium?

Whichever one I happen to be using, but clay always transports me. It is a complicated material and I also appreciate making things that are useful and beautiful at the same time. 

Do you listen to any particular music when you create?

I don’t listen to any particular music. In fact, sometimes I just want silence. I like pretty much every type of music except super-hard-non-harmonic punk rock. I do like to hear and contemplate poetic words in lyrics, but I love instrumental music that allows my mind to drift. I also enjoy good podcasts. 

What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?

This is another trick question, like asking a parent who’s your favorite child. Not fair at all. I’m still making – maybe my favorite is the next piece I create!

What advice would you give to beginning artists? 

Dear Young Artist, 

Please pursue whatever art form makes you feel that you don’t want to ever leave or stop. Do the things that your feet keep walking you to do when you aren’t thinking about what you “should” do. Consider exploring the option of teaching (even every once in a while), because teaching is more about learning than you might realize. If someone has ever inspired you, then you will be able to inspire others as well. I hope your work (in material, in spirit and in intellect) will reform and re-invent our educational system, and that you contribute toward helping others find what sparks their curiosity and joy while creating. 

Love, Tara

Above: Spiral Texture Wall, 2006, Designed by Tara Cady Sartorius

Art in the Garden: Jamey Grimes

Jamey Grimes (left) and his assistant Eric (right)

Meet the Artist

Alabama artist Jamey Grimes (born 1976) has created a work inspired by nature: Teraxacum, 2019. Named for the genus of the common dandelion, Grimes uses geometrical forms to represent the dandelion in its seed pod form. Extending off the plinth, his individual aluminum seeds tumble across the reflecting pool. In home gardens, the dandelion is often considered as both a nuisance (a weed) and an object of wonder (blowing the seeds and making a wish). In the Garden, the oversized Teraxacum ise a captivating and whimsical interpretation of this flowering plant.


We appreciate the aid of multiple City of Montgomery Departments including Maintenance, Lagoon Park Trails, and Urban Forestry for all of their efforts in bringing this project to fruition. We are equally thankful to sponsors Dr. and Mrs. Barry L. Wilson, PowerSouth and Servis First Bank, and co-sponsors Gage and Mark LeQuire for enabling us to bring Jamey Grimes’ Teraxacum to the River Region. This project has been made possible by a partnership that includes the National Endowment for the Arts and The Alabama State Council on the Arts.


Art in the Garden: Patrick Dougherty

Patrick Dougherty (American, born 1945), Rough ‘n Tumble, 2020, cherry laurel, ligustrum, and sweet gum gathered from the Montgomery area

Meet the Artist

For Rough ‘n Tumble, artist Patrick Dougherty found inspiration in the ancient pyramids of Nubia (see image to the right)—located in the Nile Valley of present-day Sudan. Dougherty placed one edge of each of his massive, woven pyramids on a pillow-like form to throw the structures off-balance. While they reach regally to the sky, the pyramids are simultaneously filled with a sense of wonder and whimsy.  Look through the windows to see inside or venture through the doorways of each structure to explore interior rooms. This “stickwork,” constructed of locally-gathered saplings over three weeks in March 2020, invites up-close-and-personal exploration and stirs our imaginations.

Image credit: Detail of the Nubian Pyramids of Meroë, Sudan, Photograph by Fabrizio Demartis, CC BY-SA 2.0

Installation Time Lapse


The MMFA is incredibly grateful for the generosity of sponsors Laura and Barrie Harmon and John Caddell and co-sponsor Warren Averett, Barganier Davis Williams Architects Associated, and Valley Bank with additional in-kind support by Warren Barrow for Patrick Dougherty’s installation. We appreciate the aid of multiple City of Montgomery Departments including Maintenance, Lagoon Park Trails, and Urban Forestry for all of their efforts in bringing this project to fruition.

A Familiar Face Returns to the Museum

The Museum is excited to welcome Tisha Rhodes back to the Museum family in her new role as Director of Development. Before leaving the Museum in 2014 to pursue an opportunity in private business, Tisha spent 17 years as the Director of Services. For the past two years, Tisha served as the Public Affairs and Development Director at the Family Sunshine Center. Tisha grew up in a military family and moved to Montgomery in junior high school. She has been married to Jason Rhodes for 26 years, and together they raised a daughter now starting her first year of college.

What drew you to art?

My parents did a great job of introducing me to the arts as a young girl, and I continued to be interested as I matured. I studied art in college, and in 1997 at the age of 25, I jumped at the opportunity to join the MMFA team.

What brought you back to the Museum?

I returned because of my love for the institution and a mission that strives to enrich, enlighten, and bring enjoyment to people’s lives through art.

What is the best thing about working at a museum?

I get to be around art and collaborative people who feed my spirit.

What is the biggest change at the Museum since you last worked here? What has not changed at all?

The biggest change is the leadership. I spent 17 years working with Mark Johnson, which I will always cherish, and now I have the privilege of working with and learning from Angie Dodson. The thing that remains constant is the spirit of the creative people who work for the Museum. I love the energy!

What is your favorite work in the collection?

I adore Kelly Fitzpatrick’s work because of the Southern regional subject matter and the amazing colors. I am lucky to have one of his paintings—one of my favorites—Alabama Foothills, hanging in my office.

What do you want others to know about the Museum?

I want locals to know that the Museum has free admission and that art is for everyone. With our great permanent collection, ArtWorks, and the John and Joyce Caddell Sculpture Garden, there is something to pique all interests. I want people outside of the area to know the MMFA has one of the finest collections of American art in the Southeastern US, and a trip to Montgomery is not complete without a visit to the Museum.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I think people see me as an extrovert because of the work I do and have done for 20+ years, but I am an introvert—peace, quiet, and alone-time energize me.

Why do you feel art is important—for individuals, families, communities?

Art introduces perspective and allows people the opportunity to achieve that perspective. I love the quote by John Lubbock, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” Perspective is key to one’s experience and art can be a catalyst for that outlook.

Do you have a favorite story or memory about the Museum?

One of my fondest memories is the 25th Anniversary in the Park Celebration Reception and the excitement that was in the air. It was such an exciting time with the Sculpture Garden on the horizon and so many monumental moments from the past 25 years in the current building to celebrate. There are terrific pictures that capture the joy of that evening.

A Gift that Sparks the Imagination

The Museum is thrilled to introduce its latest permanent installation in the John and Joyce Caddell Sculpture Garden to the River Region. The Children’s Gate (2019) is a gift of the City of Montgomery in honor of the Montgomery art community.

This brightly-colored work of art was crafted by Montgomery-based artist Vincent Buwalda (American, born 1965). Situated between the Sculpture Garden and the Education Courtyard, the Gate consists of playful robots welded from steel. Buwalda’s inventive design will spark the imagination of people of all ages, encouraging all who enter the Education Courtyard to unleash their own creativity.

Mayor Todd Strange and the Museum initiated the commission to celebrate local artists with the permanent placement of a work of art in the Garden. The Sculpture Garden Committee unanimously selected Buwalda’s design from the call for proposals put forth by the Museum and the Montgomery Business Committee on the Arts.

On Thursday, June 6, Mayor Todd Strange and the Museum’s Director Angie Dodson presented the Gate to local children, Museum supporters, the Sculpture Garden Committee, the Montgomery Business Committee on the Arts, and members of the media.

Vincent Buwalda, (American, born 1965), The Children’s Gate, 2019, urethane paint on welded steel, Gift of the City of Montgomery, Todd Strange, Mayor, 2019.6

Conservation: Untitled (Nymph), 1933

The John and Joyce Caddell Sculpture Garden gained its first permanent resident in October when Jessie Duncan Wiggin’s (1872–1954) Untitled (Nymph) took center stage at the top of the new Garden. While many of its current sculptural residents are intended to be temporary visitors, this lovely bronze dancer will be welcoming visitors to the Caddell Sculpture Garden for years to come.

The Nymph’s journey to the Garden began in New York in 1933. The more than six-foot tall figure was cast at the Roman Bronze Works in New York and depicts a mythological spirit of nature, who, as in this case, is generally shown in a celebratory dance. In mythology, nymphs were associated with locations such as woods, rivers, and streams.

Having already been exhibited outdoors for many years in Robert and Virginia Weil’s Montgomery garden, the sculpture’s surface needed to be cleaned and years of accumulated corrosion removed. It is corrosion of the metal that gives bronze exhibited outdoors a characteristic bright green color over the original patina. The Museum consulted with objects conservator, Michelle Savant of Atlanta for the project. A broken finger was repaired, the sculpture was cleaned, and finally, Savant waxed the surface, which will protect it from further deterioration. This process has returned the sculpture’s surface to its original bronze patina.

The Museum has placed Nymph on a limestone plinth at the top of the Garden, in front of a beautiful natural rock wall that defines the northern edge of the Caddell Sculpture Garden itself. As a garden sculpture in the classical tradition of mythological spirits of nature, Nymph represents a convention in Western art that goes back for many centuries: that of showing female figures as celebrations of nature and of the garden’s natural beauty.

Follow the Conservation Process

Conservator Michelle Savant began work on the sculpture Nymph by washing the bronze with a mild soap and using a low-abrasive pad to remove surface dirt and corrosion.

Once the work had been cleaned, the conservator applied wax to its surface to seal it and protect it from the elements. Garden Superintendent Jeff Dutton assisted by heating the surface with a heat gun, which kept the wax flowing to fill any tiny crevices in the surface.

Finally, once the wax had dried and hardened, the surface was buffed with a clean, lint-free fabric. The Museum staff will continue to apply wax as necessary to protect the work over time.

Art in the Garden: Joe Minter

Meet the Artist

A self-taught artist, Joe Minter uses art to tell the story of the history and journey of Africans and African Americans in America. In 1989, he began working on his own sculpture garden, the “African Village in America,” located in Birmingham. Minter feels he is directed by God in this endeavor and creates all of his sculpture from found objects, as he believes that these items contain the spirits of all who have touched them.

Minter was a featured artist in the MMFA exhibition  History Refused to Die in 2015, and his sculptures are part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C., and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Joe Minter, Dedicated to All Those Who Served, n.d., found metal, Lent by the artist
Joe Minter, Lumberjack Without a File, n.d., found metal, Lent by the artist

Art in the Garden: Adam Bodine

Meet the Artist

Adam Bodine brings a sense of humor and fun into his sculpture. Employing salvaged wood and metal, he creates oversize images of toys. Bodine’s use of industrial materials formed into familiar objects allows him to explore themes of play, dreams, building, and learning. What You Say, 2012, conjures up nostalgic ideas of old-fashioned gramophones or brings to mind a more current image; that of a bullhorn, an apparatus used to amplify our voice.

Bodine received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia. He has worked at Sloss Furnace in Birmingham and has shown his sculptures around the South.


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