Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Look into the Life of Louise Blair Daura

Louise Blair Daura's passport from 1927

Imagine leaving your home, family and country right after graduating college and moving to a bustling city halfway across the world. It’s daunting to think about, yet for Louise Blair Daura, the idea of a fresh start was thrilling, so she moved to Paris with her cousin and soon decided to pursue a dream of becoming an artist. She would achieve success during her career, but over time was overlooked and eventually forgotten about, until now. The Georgia Museum of Art is proud to present the exhibition “Louise Blair Daura: A Virginian in Paris.”

Daura was an accomplished artist during her life, exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne in Paris, and frequently received praise from her friends and fellow artists for her work. Why, then, is she so understudied today? The most likely reason is that, after about 1930, she did not exhibit any of her works. It’s unclear why she gave up her career as an artist, but she may have felt out of place in the Parisian art scene. Her husband, Pierre Daura, whom she met and married in Paris, was also an artist, a co-founder of the artists’ group Cercle et Carré. He was supportive of her career and her art (he actually submitted her painting to the Salon), but her figurative work was very different from what he and his friends were producing.

An untitled portrait of Louise Blair Daura's daughter, Martha, from 1930.

Louise did continue to paint after 1930, but she mainly produced art for herself or her friends, including portraits of her daughter. Although she was not painting much at this time, her works were still of high quality and precisely painted. An untitled painting of her infant daughter shows the baby sleeping, wrapped in a floral bed sheet, with her hands clutching the fabric and her face contorted, as if she is deep in a dream. This skill in portrait painting is evident throughout her career, as in “Self portrait with Mantilla.” The mantilla, a traditional Spanish lace shawl worn over the head, is painted with precision, and Louise depicts herself in a stoic manner. She wrote about refusing to idealize her acquaintances, or herself, for their own pride. Both of these works can be seen in the exhibition.

Louise Blair Daura, "Self-portrait with Mantilla," ca. 1929. Oil on canvas, 24 x 15 inches.
Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud, Perpignan, 

The exhibition is not only noteworthy because it examines a lesser-known artist, but also because its exhibition catalogue publishes the letters Louise Blair Daura wrote to her family in the United States, from the time she arrived in Europe until the end of 1930. These letters give an intimate look into her life: from her soirees with prominent artists to her travels around France and Spain and the joyous birth of her daughter, her letters leave the reader feeling as if they were a close friend of hers. The letters also illustrate what life was like for an American in Paris at this time.

The exhibition is up through December 10 at the museum, after which it will travel to the Daura Gallery at Lynchburg College, Virginia. Remaining programs include a Family Day this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, Museum Mix (tonight from 8 to 11 p.m.), and a Film Series on Americans in Paris, beginning November 2.

Stephanie Motter
Intern, Department of Communications

Friday, October 13, 2017

Extreme Makeover: Database Edition

Remember the last time you went to the Georgia Museum of Art?

The refreshingly cool foyer? Being greeted by the front desk security guard? You then made your way upstairs and into the galleries to admire the art. How many works of art do you remember seeing? Fifty? One hundred? Two hundred? The museum has about 500 works on display at any given time—only 5 percent of its total collection. The museum is proud that its permanent collection now consists of more than 12,000 works of art from a wide range of cultures and artists, and it does its best to rotate what is on display regularly, but limited gallery space means it can only display a small fraction of what it owns. That’s where the museum’s registrars have been hard at work.

Over the past few years, the registrars have been implementing a new collections database. This new database replaces the old DOS-based database, which was built in the 1980s and only accessible to some museum staff. The new database, called The Museum System (TMS), is online, and information on more than 2,400 works of art is now accessible to the public, with more being added every day. TMS will not only allow the public to explore the full collection, but will also greatly aid scholars and faculty in their research.

Head registrar Tricia Miller is particularly enthusiastic about the public’s access to the new database, saying, “Better access to information about the museum’s collection is one of the Georgia Museum of Art’s primary goals, and we are so pleased to reach this milestone in the process. I look forward to continuing to make more information about the collection available for students, faculty, scholars and the public to enjoy.”

The process of transferring the information from both the old database and from paper files to the new database is intricate. Basic data transferred from the previous system—such as title, date, artist, medium and dimensions—must be reviewed and corrected for each record before it can be made available to the public. In addition, relevant metadata, such as subject, country of origin or style of art will be added to the records in order to enhance the system’s search capabilities. The process may take several more years before all 12,000 records are made public, but the registrars work every day to make more records available. Additionally, all newly acquired objects will be added to the system on an ongoing basis.

Not everything in the system has a photograph attached to it. The registrars have been taking snapshots of new objects when they enter the collection for some years, but many works that were acquired earlier have not been imaged. It is the registrars’ hope to find funding to document the entire collection photographically at some point.

The public can access TMS through the collections page on the museum’s website (, which presents several options. You may view collections of highlighted works (African, American, European, Asian and decorative arts for now). You may view the works by category (print, painting, drawing, photograph, etc.). You may view all works alphabetically, by date or by object number, if you just want to browse. You can also search a word—for example, “bird,” which will return works relating to birds. These specifications are what make this new database so efficient, cutting out the need to spend hours going through files to find exactly what you may be looking for.

Another revolutionary function of TMS is that it allows visitors to sign in and create a folder of their favorite images, called “My Collection.” This feature allows people to play curator, creating their own online “exhibition” and forging a personal connection to the collection. These collections can be kept private or made public to share with other users on the site.

So the next time you find yourself mindlessly surfing the Internet, take a minute to examine the new database. You may find a work that inspires you, examine the career of a local artist or bask in the glory of a master of American impressionism. You never know what you’ll find.

Stephanie Motter
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Art of Giving: Beard Scholars at the Georgia Museum of Art

(left to right) Joseph Litts, Linda Beard, Victoria Ramsay and Larry Beard

The stereotype of southerners is that they move, think and speak slowly, but people who think that haven’t met Dale Couch. Come to the offices of the Georgia Museum of Art any day and you will see Couch, the museum’s curator of decorative arts, practically running around the museum, talking a mile a minute. Recently, Couch has been accompanied by two people just as lively as he is: the museum’s new Beard Scholars, Joseph Litts and Victoria Ramsay.

Earlier this year, Drs. Linda and Larry Beard—major supporters of the Georgia Museum of Art and its decorative arts initiative—made a commitment to establish this scholarship as a paid position for undergraduate interns in the museum’s Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts. Linda Beard is a member of the museum’s Decorative Arts Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of its Board of Advisors. She is also a distinguished collector and connoisseur of Belleek porcelain, and works from her collection are on long-term loan to the museum, where they constitute a popular display. Professor Larry Beard is also a scholar of the arts and is an able associate in the Beards’ quest to improve the learning experience in the decorative arts.

Beard Scholar Joseph Litts discusses a chair
Litts and Ramsay are the first students to receive the scholarship, which runs through the 2017–18 academic year. Both of them have demonstrated a strong commitment to the study of the decorative arts. The field focuses on useful objects (furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles et al.) that transcend their function through design, craft, ornament or inherent beauty.

The Beards said, “It is an honor and privilege for us to encourage the work and research of outstanding students in the decorative arts. These scholars represent the absolute best of those students who are passionate about the arts. Their work and aspirations bode well for the future of the decorative arts.”

Litts previously studied history as an undergraduate student at Clemson University. He interned at the museum in the summer of 2015. In the summer of 2016, he attended the summer institute at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an in-depth, practice-based program that focuses on the decorative arts and material culture of the early American South. Ramsay is an undergraduate UGA student majoring in English and history, with an emphasis on British and Irish studies. She attended the University of Georgia at Oxford program, at Trinity College, for 6 weeks this summer studying English literature. 

Beard Scholar Victoria Ramsay shows
Linda and Larry Beard some of her work

As Beard Scholars, Litts and Ramsay are tasked with a variety of responsibilities, from visiting donors to digging through antiques shops to writing research articles. The program fosters a more intensely educational, hands-on experience than they would get in a classroom alone. 

When asked what he hopes they will gain from this position, Couch says, “I hope they realize that following a passionate interest gives fulfillment to life. This program exists first to educate and enrich lives of students, not solely to train future curators. I would be delighted to have my interns go on to be lawyers, professors, stay-at-home mothers and fathers, businesspeople. Good design gives rise to conscious living.”

Litts and Ramsay believe that the scholarship will benefit them by providing an enriching educational experience that allows them to be fully invested in their work. Ramsay said, “This internship has made me realize things about myself that I wouldn’t have
known before. I have found what I am truly passionate about and what I want
to work toward in the future.” Both Beard Scholars have decided to attend graduate school. Litts will be studying art history and Ramsay will study English with the intent of becoming either a professor or an archivist. They advise anyone who has interest in the program and the decorative arts to apply for the Beard Scholarship.

The importance of the Beard Scholarship cannot be emphasized enough. Director of development Heather Malcom said, “The Beard Scholarship establishes the first paid internship position for undergraduates at the museum and serves as a model for programs of its kind that help remove barriers and open doors for talented students. It provides opportunities for students to do original research on material culture that helps tell stories about our shared history and environment. And it will go a long way toward creating and diversifying the next generation of scholars in the decorative arts.”

Information about how to apply for this scholarship and other experiential-learning-focused internships at the museum is available at

Stephanie Motter
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Serving UGA Students Through Experiential Learning

Sarah Dotson in the Met galleries

Hi there. My name is Sarah, and I graduated from the University of Georgia last May. During my senior year, I interned at the Georgia Museum of Art in the publications department in order to evaluate whether or not a job in museum publishing would perfect for me – as a lover (and student) of both English and art history, it seemed to be ideal. As it turns out, it was. As the imminent approach of graduation put existential pressure on seniors across the country, I began applying for jobs, internships and other post-grad opportunities that would allow me to move to New York City and begin a career in the arts. 

Much to my excitement and surprise, I landed an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its publications department as part of the summer MuSe program. To apply, I wrote a few essays, provided both academic and occupational references, and interviewed with the people who would soon become my supervisors. I can say with absolute certainty that I have never felt more prepared or qualified for an interview in my life. It was almost surreal finishing an interview and knowing that I didn’t have to come up with irrelevant anecdotes out of thin air to illustrate relevant skills. I had concrete examples of the projects I had been involved in at the museum, and I knew the work I was doing was actually contributing to the progress of various museum publications. 

I sat with Hillary Brown, the director of communications and my supervisor at the Georgia Museum of Art, before my interview to prepare. It was immediately clear that, by trusting me with image acquisition work, blogging, writing press releases, transcribing interviews and updating the museum’s various calendars, the museum had given me the chance to develop many skills that would appeal to my interviewers. I felt challenged but always supported by Hillary as well as by staff in other departments during my time at the museum. 

My time at the museum taught me a tremendous amount…not just about museum publishing, but also about how a museum functions as a whole, office etiquette and which shoes echo the loudest in quiet galleries (Hint: the shoes you think will echo the loudest absolutely do. Heels, heavy boots and dress shoes.)

It is easy to say I built a strong foundation at the Georgia Museum of Art that will allow me to continue pursuing work in my three different areas of occupational interest: museums, publishing and the arts. I think that is one of the ways in which I feel my internship was most helpful – I left knowing that the skills I developed were transferrable between different fields. While understanding the ins-and-outs of how to acquire image rights to reproduce photographs of an artist’s work may be specific to a job in museum publishing, learning about interdepartmental communication, project management and writing for various audiences are skills that will be helpful throughout my career, wherever it takes me. I am reaping the benefits already as I shift from my summer in publishing at the Met to online art news publishing at a company called Artsy. I’ve approached both endeavors nervously but with tremendous excitement, knowing that my experience at the Georgia Museum of Art prepared me for both. 

It is almost impossible to list all of the many ways in which the year I spent at the Georgia Museum of Art helped me reach my ultimate post-grad goal. Above all, I left my internship there knowing that I had an incredible, supportive, intelligent, artistic community behind me cheering me on as I graduated college, moved across the country and started a new job. I am so thankful for everyone at the museum, for the integral role it plays in the Athens community and for all of the inspiring works it houses. I encourage and recommend students to take advantage of the many opportunities the museum offers during their time at UGA, from internships to Museum Mix and everything in between. 

Sarah Dotson (UGA '17)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Intuition and Intimacy: An Art Student Reflects on Drawing

William H. Johnson, "Musicmakers," 1926.

When I began to study art at the undergraduate level, I didn't know that drawing seems to be misunderstood by the general public as an area of art restricted to studies and incomplete ideas. I couldn’t comprehend why gestures made in graphite, charcoal or pastels didn’t command the same respect as those made in oil, acrylic or tempera. In my mind, drawing was always a separate but equal companion to painting. I realized that that idea was part of the modern era’s growing appreciation for a look into the artist’s inner thoughts and feelings, and things had not always been that way. 

Many drawings do maintain a documentary, eyewitness approach, which is why they have historically been viewed as studies, but by the turn of the 20th century, the popularity of drawing improved, and artists began to create with an understanding of the potential for public viewing. With artists’ acknowledging the public, it’s much easier to understand how highly polished and refined drawing can be seen as a substantial art form, but even solely functional studies offer as much intrigue and insight as the lauded masters’ paintings. 

When considering various qualities that make a work of art valuable to its viewers, drawings have the potential to be more accessible than painting and just as rewarding: how the elements of a drawing are arranged for compounded meaning, how its formal qualities inflect conceptual purpose, how it expresses sentiment and vulnerability, how its means and method influence the subject, how it inspires and amazes, how its textures and line-work satisfy the soul, how it gets at this bare-bones, core component of art that is sharing one’s life through intended visual experience. 

I’m not proposing that the drawings Edward Hopper did in preparation for "Nighthawks" (1942) deserve the same critical attention as the finished work, but they are just as fascinating to me, and the painting wouldn’t have been as successful without them. Dry media is highly conducive to spontaneous mark-making, so drawing can be a valuable tool for inquiry and exploration, discovery and innovation. 

In a relatively brief and recent span of art history, we have begun to value when striated marks and impulsive flicks of the wrist evince an artist's intuition because those marks heighten the intimacy one feels with the artist. The reason I decided to focus on drawing for my bachelor of fine arts degree (in progress at the Lamar Dodd School of Art) is because it allows raw ideas and emotions to flow quickly and easily. I saw it as an open-ended discipline in the contemporary art world ripe for exploration. 

Similarly inspired by the insightful “pictures of the artist’s mind and method, his or her sensibilitá,” a young Giuliano Ceseri, living just outside Florence in the mid-20th century, was collecting art when he was only 14 years old, eventually pursuing his talents to become a gallerist. In 1995, he placed about 1,500 of those works on long-term loan to the Georgia Museum of Art, and although the collection is dominated by Renaissance-era drawings, the exhibition "Modern Masters from the Giuliano Ceseri Collection" shows works from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The collection shows the diverse ways artists use drawing in their practice, and it offers an opportunity to observe their discoveries and unique intuition by means of the raw expression present in their mark-making. One such work that encompasses the many ways drawings demand respect akin to painting is William H. Johnson’s "Musicmakers" (1926). Drawn in graphite on paper, it shows that the artist's primary goal was to work out the composition and lighting: the standing figures’ heads are cropped and the angles of the highlights dominate the eye’s movement. It’s easy to focus on the imperfections of the work, but inquisitive drawings have the potential to inspire and amaze even when they have technical flaws. Just look at that genius in the middle figure’s right shoe, the crook of that same man’s left arm, the guitar player’s nimble fingers – those 3-second impulses evince skill found only after a lifetime of practice. 

Many artists can craft a beautifully illusive drawing of a hand, but only a few can describe the essence of something so visually complex in the duration of an impulse. One of the things I love most about drawing is its immediacy and conduciveness for intuition, and graphite is particularly transparent and revealing. I can reasonably guess that Johnson first tackled the gestural line work with the bodies loosely arranged and the heads reduced to simple ovals. Then he selectively darkened the primary contours and gradually added value with directional marks, heightening the contrast as he continued. Last, he probably added in the detailed flourishes on the face, hands and wrinkled clothing. The contrast between the steady and diligent work on the faces and the rapid marks on the body is especially effective at guiding the eye. 

The highlight of the work for me is the woman’s dress, with its rhythmic folds that show the effortless sweeping motion of Johnson’s pencil. In it, you can see how the layers previously mentioned have been built up. The figures’ postures seem significant and purposeful, yet the empty spaces speak as much as the figures. Johnson’s use of space in his paintings is very block-like, but the spaces in the drawing are activated with texture. How might it affect our interpretation to see that the figures aren’t so two-dimensional? Whereas Johnson's paintings are reductive, with heightened symbolism, this elaborate drawing seems to say more about the artist than his subjects. 

We all have different tastes in art, so I charge you to consider what you value and appreciate most when perusing an exhibition, and then consider how drawings relate to those values. “Modern Masters from the Giuliano Ceseri Collection” is currently on display at the museum through November 12, so be sure to explore, discover, observe and reflect while you have the chance.

Ben Thrash
Intern, Communications

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Featured Publication: "Black Belt Color: Photographs by Jerry Siegel"

"Black Belt Color: Photographs by Jerry Siegel" is one of the newest books the museum has published. It accompanies a traveling exhibition of the same name for which we're trying to find venues (please let us know if you're interested in seeing the prospectus). The book focuses on the photography of Selma, Alabama, native Jerry Siegel, who has lived and worked in Atlanta for years but keeps returning to the place where he was born to document its places and people.

A couple of weeks ago, the Bitter Southerner and ArtsATL partnered to produce two great pieces on the book and on Siegel's work. The photo essay at the Bitter Southerner can be found here, if you missed it. Stephanie Dowda interviewed Siegel for ArtsATL here.

Our curator of American art Sarah Kate Gillespie selected the images for "Black Belt Color" and worked on creating some very deliberate pairings and groupings in the book, highlighting the narratives inherent in the images. Our director, William U. Eiland, who is from Sprott, Alabama, not far from Selma, wrote a fantastic essay for it, contextualizing Siegel's work. It also includes a transcription of a long interview with Siegel and a brief essay by the late Mary Ward Brown, a famed Alabama author and a close friend of Siegel's.
Watch the video below for another brief chat with Jerry Siegel, a look inside the book and some close-ups of some of the images it includes. Communications intern Jinsui Li created the video, and she did a great job.

"Black Belt Color: Photographs by Jerry Siegel" includes more than 60 color photographs, including seven fold-out panoramas. Hardcover; 123 pp.; $30 ISBN: 978-1-946657-00-8 You can order it by calling 706.542.0450 or online at the Museum Shop via UGA Marketplace and

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Art in Focus: A Brief Self-Guided Tour

An Art in Focus tour in action
Going through a museum can be intimidating. People fear that they might seem ignorant by misinterpreting a painting or worry that they lack the knowledge to appreciate a work of art. Even those who have studied art can feel lost among many works in a gallery. Monstrous canvases can engulf you. Intricately painted details can astound you. Vivid colors can overwhelm you. Docent-led tours are one way to experience art in a museum, but your schedule may not always fit with the ones we offer (every Wednesday at 2 p.m., plus one Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon a month). 
Another Art in Focus tour

To help, the Georgia Museum of Art’s education department has created a series of brief self-guided tours, called Art in Focus. Art in Focus tours are available printed on cards that visitors can pick up just outside the museum’s permanent collection galleries, on a long desk near the stained-glass window of St. George and the dragon. Each one focuses on a different topic, including African American artists, a director’s tour, women artists and a guide for kids. The education department chose these topics to highlight different collections at the museum and to introduce lesser known artists or works of art in a playful way. Each tour highlights five works of art on display that relate to the topic and includes a mix of biographical and art historical information, communicated in simple, straightforward language. Educators and curators carefully selected the works included on the self-guided tours to help visitors make connections to works of art and to lead them through the galleries.

The reopening of the permanent collection galleries after their complete reinstallation during the summer of 2016 inspired the tours. Callan Steinmann, associate curator of education, said, “I’d wanted to create self-guided materials for a while, but decided to wait for the permanent collection reopening to launch them. Now that the galleries have more wall text and contextual information to help orient visitors as they move through the galleries, people can really get a lot more out of their visit even if they don’t have a tour guide.” 

Educators and their interns worked on the content for the guides during the reinstallation, and they were rolled out recently. Steinmann says they plan to add a few new guides every year to correspond with the works being shown in the galleries and to switch up the topics of the tours. They’re currently working on a few new ideas, so visit the museum soon and keep your eyes peeled for new mini-tours. 

Stephanie Motter
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Staff Spotlight: The Poetic Talents of Chevelyn Curtis

Chevelyn Curtis

If you’ve ever explored the Georgia Museum of Art, chances are that you’ve seen Chevelyn Curtis countless times. Although she often comes off as shy and reserved, those who know her know that she has a great sense of humor as well as a contagious smile to go with it. Her friendly personality allows anyone around her to feel comfortable and welcome. Chevelyn has been working at the museum for years, first as a part-time security guard and now as a full-time security guard. Recently, she created her own blog to showcase her poetry: Chevelyn was kind enough to sit down with us and give us some backstory about her writing and experiences.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I started in my sophomore year in high school, so about… 13 years? I don’t write as much as I used to though. I’m always busy.

Reading your poetry, we see that a few of them seem to revolve around the theme of love. Do you often hesitate to post something so intimate online?

Not really. This is actually the first time that I’ve actually posted anything online. I’ve entered contests—I never won—but every poem that I sent in has been published in a book. I’m pretty used to my work being out there for the public to see.

Some people use poetry as an outlet. There’s no denying that putting your heart on a sheet of paper can result in so much relief, whether emotional or mental. Is that why you write?

Yes. I was teased a lot so, I reached a breaking point and almost thought about committing suicide. I found writing—and the fun thing is that it was a school assignment, and I ended up liking it. I was able to write off the top of my head. I didn’t need to think about it. 

On your site, the first thing you see is a headline that reads: “My Love for Poetry Will Hopefully Inspire You in Some Way.” If you desire that readers take something away from your writing, what do you want it to be?

I’m hoping that it’ll inspire people to write more and express themselves. If my poem could help them in any way, I’m all for that too. Actually, I do have a poem about being teased that I will be posting soon.

Does being a security guard for the Georgia Museum of Art fuel your artistic side? I imagine that poets would love to be around beautiful art because both serve to tell stories.

Honestly, no. I do like the paintings we have here, but they don’t really inspire me or fuel me to write.

Is it hard for you to be so vulnerable on paper and then to upload your innermost thoughts for even strangers to see? Does that kind of courage come naturally to you? Or is it something you had to work toward?

I’m definitely still working on that. I’m very shy and I’m like… the quiet one. Unless I’m comfortable around you. Then I’m a completely different person. This takes a lot of courage because it took me a long time to actually act on this. I’ve been thinking about making a blog for the longest. 

In your biography on your website, you thank viewers for making your dreams come true. What exactly are your dreams and aspirations?

Well, my main goal was to publish a book of my poems. However, I kept hitting roadblocks with that because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to get it done and I didn’t have the money for it anyway. So that’s when the blog idea popped into my head. But my goal, in short, is to just get my poetry out there. The only downside to writing my own book would be the book tours and reading in front of people. I hate public speaking.

On your blog in your introduction page, you mention that you’ve endured bullying. Thankfully, you found writing. What advice do you have to people who also endure hardships that you’ve endured?

Well, I couldn’t escape harassment because I got it at school and at home. I didn’t have an outlet, and one day I told my mom about the assignment and she just told me to write what I felt. Doing that really helped, so I would say, “find an outlet.” You can write, draw, or sing… Do whatever you can to get it out.

Marq Norris
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jason Hubbard Is Making a Living Work of Art

Jason Hubbard poses in his garden with the Horace Farlowe sculpture

For those who have walked along the south side of the Georgia Museum of Art over the past years, you might have noticed a dead and forgotten patch of land transform into a lush and calming garden niche. At the heart of that transformation is Jason Hubbard of UGA's Facilities Management Division, a true gardener if there ever was one. He has been digging in the dirt for more than 18 years, and it’s apparent he tends to his gardens with the utmost care, making sure to meet the specific needs of each plant. You can often find him in a broad-brimmed, straw hat, enveloped in his garden searching for weeds or taking a break to talk plants with home gardeners who pass by.

At one point, Jason only managed the giant circular pots by the main entrance, but 4 years ago he noticed an abandoned space just around the corner and took the initiative to rehabilitate it. The first step was to remove a dying dogwood and nurse another back to health. Then he began transferring perennials from other locations on campus where the foliage might have been too thick. Over the years, he has developed the garden with minimal budget, only receiving funds for nursery-born plants last fall. For Jason, little gardens like this one are his opportunity to contribute the greatest good. 

As a conscientious gardener, he keeps the space mostly organic except for a well-considered dose of pesticides on occasion. With the prevalence of concrete in mind, Jason has made a pollinator habitat so that vital pollinators like bees, wasps and hummingbirds have a sort of oasis. He considers what kinds of birds and insects certain plants cater to, and when discussing the give and take of pesticides with him, it becomes evident that the garden is a delicately balanced environment. That balance was enhanced this past summer with the installation of a marble sculpture by Horace Farlowe, a past UGA professor who made significant contributions to the growth of the sculpture department (you can find out more about that sculpture here). Jason’s garden proved to be an ideal location for the sculpture’s debut at the museum. He coordinated with the concrete pourers for the optimal location, and in the spring he will have the opportunity to uproot and reorganize plants to frame the new centerpiece.

Ben Thrash interviewing Jason Hubbard
Once just a patch of mulch, a beautiful garden now accompanies the museum’s southern entrance. It is with the utmost gratitude that we thank Jason Hubbard for his care and initiative in transforming the space. What used to be a common and forgettable corner has now become activated and lively, so if you happen to see a man in a straw hat when you walk by, be sure and stop to say thanks!

Benjamin Thrash
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, August 17, 2017

From the Publications Office: Using the Study Centers

When you're reading a book, you probably don't think too much about where all the materials in it came from or how they were compiled. A large part of the process of creating something visually exciting for you to hold in your hands consists of tracking down material to illustrate the final result. Sometimes (a lot of times, in fact) that means contacting museums and other lenders to get them to supply high-resolution photographs of works of art. But what if you have a book that's mostly text? How do you give it some visual flair? A lot of that is up to the graphic designer, and the Georgia Museum of Art works with many talented freelance designers, who have won countless awards for their projects with us. In the case of "Louise Blair Daura: A Virginian in Paris" (which opens at the end of September and has a large book to accompany it), we were lucky enough to have the Pierre Daura Study Center close at hand.

The study center includes an amazing trove of material produced by both Pierre Daura and his American wife, Louise Blair Daura, the focus of this upcoming exhibition. The book will include her letters home from Paris to her family in Virginia written from 1928 to 1930, giving wonderful and witty insight on the art and social scene of the time. It also makes use of family photographs in the archive, Louise's creative projects (valentines, for example) and even passports, as in the snapshots here. We wanted some of the script font in the book to resemble Louise's actual signature, which can be small or blurry or written in an abbreviated form in the letters. A passport is a perfect place to get a nice, clear signature.

Other times, as with the image above, Louise makes reference in her letters to a drawing, so we needed to pull the actual letters and scan them to extract her sketches. Going through these pages and family photos gives one an even better feel for the daily life of these people than reading about them in a book, but we're doing our best to capture that feel for everyone who reads the final product.

The contents of the archive are listed through the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, online. To make an appointment to use the archive, you can call the museum's main line, at 706.542.4662 or email