The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Takes Precautions to Reduce the Spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
UPDATE | March 18, 2020
Dear Museum Community,
At the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the well being of our community and the families that we serve is our number one priority. To do our part in minimizing the spread of COVID-19, the MMFA is closed until further notice. We have also decided to cancel or postpone all Museum programs and events through at least May 16, 2020, in line with public health officials’ recommendations on social distancing.
In the meantime, we will be looking at ways of providing virtual engagement that you can enjoy from home. For these activities as well as program and event changes, please check the website and follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All further program and operational changes will be announced through our regular channels, including our website and social media.
We are grateful for your support of the MMFA as we collectively address the challenges that the COVID-19 crisis will continue to bring. As we all work to contain this outbreak, the Museum extends its special appreciation to those in health care, medicine, research, and other fields bravely leading the frontline response. We encourage everyone to follow the recommendations of the CDC so that we can see you back at the MMFA very soon.
UPDATE | March 16, 2020
The safety of our community and the families that we serve is our number one priority. To do our part in minimizing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Museum will be closed effective immediately (Monday, March 16) until further notice. All activities will be suspended until the Museum reopens. You can check back here for more updates as they become available.
UPDATE | March 13, 2020
Classes, Family Events, Exhibition Openings, Tours, and Private Programs and Events are Cancelled or Postponed
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, as a City Department, has cancelled all events, tours, and meetings until further notice. This comes after this morning’s announcement by Mayor Steven Reed that all City of Montgomery sponsored events have been cancelled and all City venues have closed due to rising concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Museum (other than the ArtWorks Gallery) will remain open during regular business hours.
Cancelled or closed galleries, tours, and classes
- ArtWorks Children’s Interactive Gallery: Closed until further notice
- All Scheduled Tours: No tours will be scheduled through the end of March
- Advanced Placement Art History Classes: Cancelled until further notice
- Afterschool Art at Mount Meigs DYS: Cancelled until further notice
- Gallery Arts at Montgomery Therapeutic and Recreation Center: Cancelled until further notice
- Learning Through Art at Wares Ferry Road Elementary School: Cancelled until further notice
- Garden Opening on Thursday, March 19 Postponed until further notice
Cancelled individual events and programs
- Vann Vocal on Saturday, March 14
- Artful Yoga on Wednesday, March 18
- See Me on Wednesday, March 18
- Muses on Wednesdays, March 18 and March 25
- The Museum’s Film Intro at the Capri on Wednesday, March 18
- Antiquarians Meeting on Thursday, March 19
- Earth’s Heart on Thursdays, March 19 and 26
- Art After 5 on Thursday, March 19
- Adult Printmaking on Saturday, March 21
- Highlights Tour on Saturday, March 21
- Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Performance on Sunday, March 22
- Docent Training on Mondays, March 23 and March 30
- Art Ed Central on Thursday, March 26
- Art Talk on Thursday, March 26
- Junior League Event on Friday, March 27
- AAEA Teacher Workshop on Saturday, March 28
- An Afternoon with Zelda on Sunday, March 29
- Docent Council Meeting on Monday, March 30
When the MMFA moved from downtown Montgomery to the Blount Cultural Park in 1988, the staff began preparing for a park-and-art-centered outdoor event—a plan that came to fruition 18 months later as the Flimp Festival on May 5, 1990. We introduced the Do-Dah Parade as a central part of those early Flimps, and it grew to include a diverse assortment of wonderful pets in costume, and some adventurous owners who dressed up as well.
The original Do-Dah parades were eventually discontinued, however in 2014 a number of factors led the Museum to revive the Do-Dah tradition. First, the Hannah Daye Ridling Bark Park opened in 2013 providing dogs and their families a safe place to play. Then, in 2014, the Museum entered into a partnership with the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to present the annual Flimp Festival, and we jointly approached the Montgomery Humane Society (sponsors of our Bark Park neighbors) to re-institute the Do-Dah tradition. Our goals were to incorporate the BTW students as co-organizers and participants, and to bring greater visibility to the efforts of the Montgomery Humane Society to find loving families for shelter dogs. We continued this new tradition of Do-Dah at this year’s Flimp, and we are delighted to report that our participation grew.
About fifty amazing dog and their human companions gathered on a perfect May morning to strut their stuff, and compete for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place gift cards generously donated by
Pet Supermarket. The Parade was led by Jazz band musicians from BTW, and our judges, Alabama News Network anchor Tim Lennox and Museum Director Mark Johnson, awarded prizes to winners who achieved the most creative costumes and ensembles. Students from BTW escorted 10 costumed dogs from the Montgomery Humane Shelter in the Parade, and later presented them to potential adoptive families in the adoption tent from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. The folks at For Healthy Pets provided gift packets of healthful and tasty products for adopters that day.
We appreciate all the participants who made this second revival of the Do-Dah Parade and Adoption Event a great success—musicians, parading dogs and people, judges, and volunteers. We particularly thank the BTW student escorts, and the volunteers from the Montgomery Humane Society who took such good care of the shelter dogs for the day. Finally, we again thank our sponsors Pet Supermarket, For Healthy Pets, Barking Lot Grooming Salon, and Groomin’ Tails Pet Salon for their sponsorship of prizes for the Do-Dah Parade, and for contributing to the on-going welfare of pets in the Montgomery area.
Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art
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
The Museum Store is preparing for our FIFTH YEAR as a HANDCRAFTED GALLERY STYLE SPACE. October is our birthday month and we are going to stretch out the celebration with treats, special deals, featured artists, and other fun things the entire month, so stay tuned for the details. If you haven’t been in the Store in some time, you are missing out on one of most distinctive shopping experiences in Montgomery. The Store features works by more than 70 local and regional artists with everything from pottery, glass, paintings, textiles, jewelry, photography, and more. We feel fortunate to have works by so many talented artists.
Behind each work of art there is a story, an investment of time and talent. The Museum Store should be first on your list when thinking about the perfect wedding or graduation gift and if you need just the right painting for your newly designed space, the Museum Store may have just what you are looking for.
We will be closed for three days, August 5 through 7 for a little cosmetic work and will reopen Friday, August 8 with a new look and a bevy of new works by our beloved artists. Come and see what’s NEW starting August 8 and plan to celebrate with us the month of October!
Tisha Rhodes and Kay Jacoby
Director of Services and the Museum Store
What started out as a $3 million vision by Museum director Mark Johnson and the MMFA’s board of trustees is being transformed into a three-acre reality.
Johnson says, “First we were just considering building it out to the road and having a one acre sculpture gallery, but then we started saying we have another 50 yards of property out there. We decided if we extended it out and changed a road here and there it would add a lot more space to it. ”
With temperatures rapidly approaching the 90-degree mark on Wednesday morning Johnson, Montgomery’s Mayor Todd Strange, MMFA Board of Trustees President Barrie Harmon, and other dignitaries took the Sculpture Garden to the next level. They all shoveled sand during a ceremonial groundbreaking to make way for it’s creation. The Mayor Strange says, “This is the next step forward.”
Forward to 2016, which is when Museum leaders plan to have this new gallery completed. The additional outdoor exhibition and studio space will be an extension of the Lowder Gallery that is located on the east side of the building. The Board’s president believes the Garden was the highlight of the Museum’s 25th anniversary. Harmon says, “It enhances the image of the city. It gives us a cultural dimension to what we’re trying to achieve in Montgomery.” The new addition will not only feature temporary and permanent exhibitions of outdoor sculpture, it will also be used for special events and innovative education programs. The space will provide an outstanding new venue for entertaining and appreciating the beauty of the natural setting in the Blount Cultural Park.
Director Mark Johnson says the planning committee did their homework touring other sculpture gardens across the United States to get ideas and taking this research to an architect and landscape architecture specialist in order to prepare the current plan.
The efforts to fund the construction of the new sculpture garden are already underway and Johnson says a third of the money needed has been raised so far.
In the meantime, to hear and see more sights and sounds from the June 25th groundbreaking go online to the Youtube video link seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlH9G0YduH0&feature=youtu.be.
Director of Public Relations and Marketing
It’s a conference that could gain the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts worldwide attention. 40 writers and bloggers from as far away as Canada and Australia took a four-day tour of the Capital city. They are known as the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association.
Writers David and Mary Gayle Sartwell of Bradenton, Florida walked into the Museum around 11:30 Thursday morning. David Gayle says he wants his readers to have an understanding of what to do and where to go when they visit Montgomery. “What we look for are personal interests, things in particular like Hank Williams and black history.” He says after growing up in the North he wants to look at the past and see how the city of Montgomery has progressed over the years. His wife Mary says, “There’s more culture here than I presumed. I came here with an open mind not knowing what to expect.”
MMFA’s Curator of Art, Jennifer Jankauskas, gave the Sartwells and others a tour of 11 of the Museum’s galleries. Author, Judith Glynn, is from New York City. Glynn shared her goals as a writer. “We want to give a first hand introduction to the city. It’s our responsibility to tell readers what we saw.” Lamont Mackay travels from Blenheim Ontario, Canada. “This museum is spectacular, so open. It has a wonderful look and feel.”
Each member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association provide press coverage through articles, blog posts, and social media. They made the Museum’s ARTWORKS interactive gallery and learning center the final stop on their 30-minute tour. It appeared to be a favorite with the guests. Mary Gayle says, “The child in me is coming alive again. I have been to a lot of science museums. This is one of the best I have seen.” Mackay says, “It makes you want to be a kid again. This will be a hook in my story. I am excited to write about this.”
The group wrapped up their visit with lunch at the MMFA’s Café M. Our staff was delighted the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce chose the Museum as one of the destinations for these writers to visit. We hope their publications will spread word about the quality Montgomery’s art museum has to offer.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Four hours of creative, innovative, and family-friendly entertainment attracted a crowd of more than 2300 spectators to this year’s 25th-annual FLIMP festival. A cool breeze accompanied by plenty of sunshine made for a spectacular day, and the first partnership between the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Booker T. Washington Magnet High School made it one to remember.
The question everyone asked during Saturday’s event was, “Exactly what is a FLIMP?” Even though they weren’t sure of the answer, that didn’t stop participants from getting their faces painted, making and breaking piñatas, or enjoying other arts and crafts. Just when you thought you had seen it all, nearly two-dozen dogs, decked out from head to paw, strolled through the parking lot for the return of the Do-Dah parade. That procession actually helped four canines get adopted from the Montgomery Humane Society.
The echoes of voices from BTW’s choir and the melodies from the school’s band filled the air as everyone walked the grounds of the MMFA. For those who didn’t want to be outside, no worries, there was plenty of entertainment on the inside of the Museum. Who knew you could take an animal’s bones and other objects and turn them into a jam session? Drummer Dave Holland showed a packed gallery, how to do just that. Holland even let them volunteer to be part of his percussion section.
As this year’s festival came to a close, the reminder of two fun-filled days shared among local students and adults remained on display from 2014’s Chalk Art competition. If you drive out right now, you might still be able to get a glimpse of the chalk artists’ transformation of the front parking lot into an art gallery.
However, don’t worry if you missed out on all the fun this year. The FLIMP Festival will take place at the same place and time next year. We will plan on welcoming you then.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
By 2012, the three 14-foot-long aluminum arcs installed by Edward Lee Hendricks in the Museum’s lake in 1991 still pivoted on their stainless steel posts in a gentle breeze as designed, adding their graceful movements to the tranquil scene. However, time and the talons of waterfowl—especially wintering flocks of big, black cormorants—had eroded the gilded surface that initially glistened in the sun.
Consequently, the Museum involved the artist in developing a plan to restore the arcs’ golden color and preserve the artist’s intent for his only sculpture in a marine environment. McKay-Lodge Art Conservation of Oberlin, Ohio, examined the sculpture and proposed to clean and re-gild the arcs with traditional gold leaf like that Hendricks had used. They also recommended an innovative Tnemec clear coat to protect the gilding from damage.
In October of 2013 the arcs were removed from the lake and shipped to Ohio for treatment. They will be re-installed in the spring of 2014. This conservation treatment will insure that the gleaming, golden arcs will again swing in the breeze as the artist intended.
The conservators will also be treating a second sculpture from the collection, Buckminster Fuller’s Twelve Degrees of Freedom, 1983. This work is one of the collection’s most significant examples of twentieth-century American sculpture, and it will also return to view in 2014.
Funding for the conservation treat-ment of these sculptures is provided by the Museums for America grant program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Museum, and the MMFA Association.