Thursday, May 17, 2018

Former Intern Samantha Meyer Reflects on Her Time at the Museum

Samantha Meyer
One of our former public relations interns, Samantha Meyer, recently took the time to write about how her internship with the Georgia Museum of Art helped her find her ideal career path. Meyer is currently the lead career consultant for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

During my time as a student at the University of Georgia, I worked as a public relations intern for the Georgia Museum of Art. I was thrilled to land this role and learn more about my chosen major and career path in the context of art in the Athens community. I was excited to learn about the basics of PR—how to write a press release, practicing my writing skills and generally learning how to communicate effectively on behalf of an organization. I had no idea that I would learn so much more about my future career path and myself.
One of my favorite things about working at the museum was that I was trusted to do the work I was assigned. I was responsible for touching base with curators about upcoming exhibitions for the advance exhibition schedule, and I managed the process of tracking press clippings. I was also writing press releases frequently—and about some major initiatives, at that. I mean, I wrote a release about Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, y’all!
As intimidating as that all may have sounded to me at the time, I learned that I love autonomy in any role I assume; I will always appreciate the trust that was put into me during my time as a public relations intern.
In addition, I learned how to carry myself in an office setting. As a first generation college student, I didn’t understand the importance of this. The museum was a wonderful learning environment as I processed how to collaborate with peers and superiors, how to take constructive criticism and simply how to work effectively within an organization.
An unexpected outcome of my time at the museum was learning how much I enjoyed working in higher education. Working at the Georgia Museum of Art taught me that there were ways to apply my communications experience in support of causes and organizations that make an impact on their communities and stand for something meaningful. I realized that I couldn’t work for an organization whose mission and impact I didn’t support. As a double major in public relations and women’s studies, coupled with my time at the museum, I realized my values would play a huge role in my careersomething that I was unable to foresee early on in my time at UGA.
Nowadays, it’s my job to help current University of Georgia students figure out what they want to do with their careers. One of the first things we encourage at the UGA Career Center is to get experience (such as internships) to help them learn what they might want to do. I encourage starting out in campus roles (and have even recommended GMOA before!) so students can begin learning what they like, what they don’t like, and what they want more of in future roles. Though I’m no longer working in the art world, there was no better setting for me to gain experience for my future career than the Georgia Museum of Art.

For more information on our internship opportunities, you can read about our various positions here or fill out an application.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Legacy of Giving: Mary Virginia Terry

Mary Virginia Terry

Mary Virginia and her late husband C. Herman Terry are among the most generous donors in the history of the University of Georgia.

Its business school bears their name, as it has since 1991, but they have also supported faculty chairs, the general scholarship fund at the university and the College of Pharmacy. Their legacy continues through Mrs. Terry’s latest gift: 14 paintings and works on paper to the collection of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia.

Throughout her life, Mrs. Terry has focused her philanthropy on three areas: education, children’s charities and the arts. She has been a trustee of Jacksonville University and served on the boards of the Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Home Society, the Salvation Army, the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless and the Jacksonville Symphony. Mr. Terry graduated from what was then UGA’s school of commerce in 1939, then became president of Dependable Insurance Co., which he built into a major corporation in Jacksonville, Florida, where the couple made their home. He passed away in 1998, but Mrs. Terry has continued the legacy of giving that they began together. She received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Georgia in 2009 and served recently as honorary chair of the very successful Building Terry campaign at UGA’s Terry College of Business.

A native of Quitman, Georgia, and a graduate of Valdosta State University, Mary Virginia Terry understands the impact that art can make on children’s lives and the way that it can provide UGA students with a well-rounded experience. She and her husband built their collection of art together, and these 14 works greatly increase the museum’s holdings by the major artists who created them.

It would be rare and marvelous to receive a gift of a single work by Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, Maurice Prendergast, Andrew Wyeth, Ernest Lawson, Winslow Homer, Gifford Beal or John Singer Sargent. To receive works by all of these artists at once, in a single gift, is extraordinary. Until Mrs. Terry made her gift, the museum did not own a painting by Sargent, only a drawing. Not only are the works beautiful and important, but they also fill some gaps in its collection, allowing UGA students and the wider Athens-area community to benefit from seeing these works in person. All 14 works will be on display at the museum this spring, in the exhibition “A Legacy of Giving: C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry,” on view May 12 through August 5.

William U. Eiland visited Mrs. Terry several times over the years of his tenure as director of the museum and said, of this extraordinary gift, “My reaction at hearing from Mrs. Terry that she was making this gift to the museum? Joy. Unaffected, pure joy. And gratefulness, on behalf of generations of students yet to enroll at the university.”

Mary Virginia Terry has said, “My husband and I just felt we wanted to give back because we had such good fortune.” They chose to focus on the arts, hospitals, education and children’s concerns because, “We felt those were important both for the future and for the needs we saw now.” Mrs. Terry is a modest person, who does not love the spotlight, but she accepts public recognition in the hope that her giving will serve as an example to others. For more than half a century, she has provided support to the University of Georgia that has helped it strengthen academic and research programs. The museum is proud and grateful to be among the beneficiaries of their kindness.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Collectors Road Show: Art, Heirlooms and Treasures

Imagine striking it rich and leaving behind your mundane life to live every day carefree. Whether it be buried treasure, winning the lottery or finding a suitcase full of millions of dollars, everyone is familiar with the rags-to-riches story, including the ones featured on PBS’ popular Antiques Roadshow program. If you’ve ever wondered whether the contents of your attic could have you living a life of leisure, you’ll have a chance to find out this May at the Georgia Museum of Art.

On May 11 and 12, the museum will host “The Collectors Road Show: Art, Heirlooms and Treasures,” with numerous appraisal opportunities for both members and non-members.

On May 11, expert appraisers from Bonhams will do formal, in-home valuations for upper-level event sponsors. The museum will then host a Patrons Party that evening, featuring more chances for in-depth appraisals and a silent auction. Patrons Party tickets may be purchased separately from event sponsorship, $100 for non-members and $85 for members.

On May 12, both museum members and the general public can bring items to the museum for informal, verbal appraisal by the Bonhams’ experts. Appointments are $15 for members and $20 for non-members per item. Each additional item will cost $10, with a limit of three items per person. Advance reservations are strongly recommended but not required. Visit for additional sponsor information, benefits or to register online. The prestigious Bonhams auction house was established in 1793 and is world renowned for its international auction houses, sales and specialists. Bonhams is headquartered in London but has salesrooms in New York and Los Angeles. It specializes in buying and selling in every major area of art, antiques, jewelry and cars.

The event serves as the Collectors’ biennial fundraiser to benefit the museum’s permanent collection. Membership in the Collectors is open to contributing level members (and above). The group raises funds for acquisitions, organizes lectures, visits homes of art enthusiasts and hosts excursions to other cities. Every Collectors event is an opportunity to learn and appreciate art, and the group’s membership has continued to grow.

The Collectors have acquired various works of art that are beloved objects of the permanent collection. Most recently, the Collectors obtained the sculpture bust “Minnehaha” by famed African-American and Chippewa artist Edmonia Lewis, who is considered to be one of the most influential female artists of the 19th century. Other notable works of art that have been acquired by the Collectors include a lithograph after artist Édouard Manet, an engraving from the 1620s and an oil painting of the famed Blue Ridge Mountains by American landscape painter William Sonntag.

Stephanie Motter
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spotlight on Studio Workshops: Interview with Paige French

Paige French
With experience in everything from photography to ceramics and, of course, textiles, Paige French brings an unique approach to art. French will be leading a four-part series of studio-based courses at the Georgia Museum of Art that will explore weaving and fiber arts through various techniques and materials. The class is open to artists of all levels.

We spoke with French this week to learn more about the upcoming workshop and her own works as an artist, and we were met with both answers and engaging stories.

How did you come to work with textiles as an artist?
I taught myself how to sew. I would steal my mom’s sewing machine, because when I was 13 I realized clothes didn’t fit me, but all these other girls, their clothes fit them. I ruined a lot of clothing, which my mom was not happy about, but that started my interest in seamstress work and design. I think there are principles across so many art forms like composition, color theory and the rule of thirds that can even be applied to fashion. The concept of how things present based on what textures are combined and what colors are used, all of those things are relevant no matter what media you’re working within.

Paige has continued to sew, weave and interact with textiles throughout her life. These interests are often incorporated into her commercial and personal work such as shoots she has done for books on interior design. Paige has also featured her textile works over the years on her early professional blogs, at her own home and on more modern platforms such as Instagram. As she has said herself, some artistic concepts transcend all types of art. The care and manner in which she brings her art into the world suggests that her works are not limited by context.

How does a visit to the museum inspire your work?
I am incredibly floored, entering into a museum is like a spiritual experience. Especially at the Georgia Museum of Art because of the way it’s designed, with the outdoor patio and sculpture garden, it really does invite you in. It’s so sparse and minimal, which allows you to have a really powerful interaction with the pieces.

Is there a particular Georgia Museum of Art exhibit that has evoked this feeling for you?
I remember I was invited to photograph the Ann Bonfoey Taylor exhibit at the museum in 2013. Having the opportunity to come into the museum and photograph these artifacts — artifacts in the sense of lives lived and time spent rather than physical age — was huge for me because of the work that I’m doing. In the context of this digital age, it can seem like I put [what I create] out there and “poof,” it’s gone. But that exhibit helped me to realize no, it’s actually lasting and it matters.

What can people look forward to doing and learning in this workshop?
The first day is going to be personal introductions, going up and observing the works and then talking about how we’ll be studying circular and rectangular compositions. The second day, participants will be making sketches of what we want to bring to life; weaving based on paintings, sculptures or whatever else is on display or that we look at from the archives. From there, participants will learn basic weaving knots and stitches, and begin to create their pieces throughout the rest of the workshop.

The workshop is supposed to draw inspiration from museum pieces on display and in the archives; what is your favorite (or a few favorites) of what you’ve pulled for the students?

The specific pieces are still to be determined, but Paige states there will likely be an emphasis on abstracts.

One of my goals with looking at pulled works and at the current MFA exhibit will be to see those concepts of color theory, composition and texture. Really just honing the students’ eyes to what is applicable across so many different formats of art. That’s my ideal; I want to introduce them to the fact that you can do this.

What sort of ways do you see these pieces inspiring the class?
The students will be making sketches of the exhibits to find out what they want to bring to life in the weavings they will make later in the class.

Paige plans to show students how to recognize patterns and themes in any kind of art, and to use those elements in works, specifically textile works, of their own. In the past, she has taught a number of workshops on everything from weaving to cyanotypes with students of all ages. Often, those classes also began with looking at art or art books to inspire students. She explained her reasoning for me, showing just how important this component is in terms of creating art:

Let’s look at these [art books], spend some time with them and then make notes about what stands out. What is compelling to you, and why? If you could make any type of art in the world, what would it look like and how would you get to that point?” I kind of just asked them to open up the books and their selves with the firm belief that “Hey, I believe you have the potential to create art just as much as any other human being.”

“Studio Workshop: Fiber Arts” with Paige French begins May 3. The cost of the course is a $15 materials fee, which will cover all necessary supplies for all sessions (May 3, 10, 17 and 24). Call 706.542.8863 or email to register. Limited to 15 participants.

Savannah Guenthner
Intern, Department of Communications