Thursday, July 26, 2018

Family Day at the Georgia Museum of Art

A family shows off their works of art at Family Day

On Saturday July 14, a family of three enters the foyer of the Georgia Museum of Art. Associate curator of education Sage Kincaid immediately greets them, giving them a gallery guide. Upon seeing the little girl’s interest, she squats down and directs the information directly to her. The little girl listens attentively, nodding from time to time with a serious finger on her mouth. When all is understood, the family thanks Kincaid, and the little girl rushes toward the steps up to the galleries.

These are some of the first visitors to Family Day – an event the museum hosts for the benefit of children and their families around Athens. July’s focus was the exhibition “Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection.” Families had free run of the galleries to explore and experience, then went down to the Michael and Mary Erlanger Studio Classroom to paint their own masterpieces on canvas. As always, there was a green-screen backdrop hung up and a volunteer photographer on hand to take pictures of families with their art. A piece of art from the exhibition will later be inserted into the background, and the photos are made available on the museum’s Flickr and Facebook pages for free use by the families.

Family Day is hosted monthly by the museum and is themed around a current exhibition or a focus within the permanent collection. Admission is always free and includes a hands-on art activity completed with the help of the education department staff and interns. These activities give children and parents alike the chance to put their own spin on an object related to what they’ve seen in the galleries and have included personalizing red paper lanterns, hanging tapestries, mandalas and oceans in jars. Participatory activities are also often included: there was a floor loom demonstration during “The Material of Craft”; a 3D printer in action for “The Science of Art”; and the “Mindfulness and Mandalas” Family Day featured a yoga class taught by the Athens business YogaSprouts. Using these tools and many more, the program has been nurturing community interactions since its inception more than 30 years ago, revealing the museum’s curatorial breadth, the indispensability of community sponsors and the rigor of the education department in maintaining a strong relationship between the museum and the community on a broad and individual level.

Local families can look forward to next month’s Family Day, “One Heart, One Way,” inspired by an exhibition of Russian fine and decorative arts from the Belosselsky-Belozersky Collection. Children will be able to learn about the objects before creating their own “full dress helmet inspired by those worn by Her Majesty’s Horse Guards in 19th-century Russia.” The event will take place on August 18 from 10 a.m. to noon, and you can check in on Facebook here.

Take a look below for the full list of dates and themes for future Family Day events.

August 18, 2018 – One Heart, One Way
September 8, 2018 – Portraits and Photography
October 20, 2018 – WWI Posters from Around the World
November 3, 2018 – Transforming Metal
December 1, 2018 – Geometric Holiday
January 12, 2019 – Russian Embroidery
February 9, 2019 – African American Artists
March 9, 2019 – Life, Love and Marriage Chests
April 13, 2019 – Maiolica Pottery
May 18, 2019 – Spring Landscapes
June 22, 2019 – The American West
July 20, 2019 – Color, Form and Light

Penski McCormack
Intern, Department of Communications

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Third Thursday Highlights Visual Arts in Athens

Third Thursday

This evening, Athens citizens and visitors are invited to enjoy several art venues for the monthly event Third Thursday. This event was started six years ago in order to “encourage attendance at Athens’ established art venues through coordination and co-promotion by the organizing entities.”

Among the participants are the Lamar Dodd School of Art Galleries, Lyndon House Arts Center, ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Ciné, Hotel Indigo, the Classic Center and the Georgia Museum of Art. The bridging of these venues helps showcase the abundance of options that visitors have to choose from when seeking visual arts in the Athens area.

The event, expectedly, happens on the third Thursday of every month, with a changing roster of exhibitions and events. This month, visitors can choose between five venues with a varied selection of shows. While two of the venues are closed, there is no shortage of choice for Athens area art lovers.

Among others, the Classic Center is boasting a new show on contemporary quilts (“Stitch”), Hotel Indigo is presenting an installation titled “Pillow Fight,” Lyndon House Arts Center is showing works by Vernon Thornsberry and the Georgia Museum of Art is displaying three temporary exhibitions. With such a diverse collection, there is truly something to fit everyone’s interests.

In addition to the exhibitions, the Georgia Museum of Art is also providing a free yoga class in its galleries starting at 6 p.m. This program is led by instructors from Five Points Yoga and is open to visitors with all levels of experience.

For more information about Third Thursday and to see what upcoming months will bring, you can view its website.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Curator of Education Named at Georgia Museum of Art

Callan Steinmann

In 2011, there were many changes ongoing at the Georgia Museum of Art, some more obvious than others. You may remember the architectural facelift that transformed the exterior and interior of the building that year. The renovation added a sleek design and 30,000 square feet of additional gallery space. These changes increased the educational potential of the museum for years to come. In 2009 and 2012, bookending the renovation, the museum made another, quieter change, hiring a person who would one day expand the museum’s creative and educational potential beyond increased square footage.

When Callan Steinmann interned at the museum, with both the education department and the director’s office, she had no idea that one day she would have the opportunity to bring these new gallery spaces to life with exciting and inviting educational programs as curator of education (a job for which she was hired in March). Previously she had worked at the museum as associate curator of education, managing the K–12 and community programming. Steinmann’s journey to the museum was both unique and fortuitous. Each of her experiences equipped her for her new role.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Georgia, she was able to “see how classes connected to the museum.” Her interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree included coursework in studio art, art education, educational psychology and psychology, with a focus on therapeutic arts and expression. She now teaches a course at the Lamar Dodd School of Art on art criticism and aesthetic understanding. As a teacher, she guides students through the galleries with new eyes. She encourages students to seek and discover how their own history and their experiences in the museum influence their interpretation of art.

Steinmann has also been influential in adding programs that allow people to experience art in new ways. Recent additions include Morning Mindfulness, Yoga in the Galleries and Studio Workshops. The Studio Workshop program, which received an award from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries, gives participants the opportunity to learn a new skill over the course of a few weeks. It also allows the museum to support local artists, who teach the workshops, and it was the focus of Steinmann’s dissertation.
Experiences far from Athens developed her passion for museum work.

She pursued a master’s degree at the University of Texas, studying the 5th-grade programming at the Georgia Museum of Art. While in Austin, she assisted with the public programs at the Blanton Museum of Art. Then, she studied abroad in Choisy-le-Roi, France, and visited world-renowned museums. While abroad, she decided to pursue a career in the museum field. She explained, “It just clicked.” Each of her experiences up to this point contributed to her desire to work in a museum. Steinmann decided that museum education “married my interests in visual arts and education in an informal learning environment.” Today she is working on a Museum Studies certificate program with faculty in History and Historic Preservation, scheduled to launch in 2019. This certificate will help inform and equip students for opportunities in the museum field.

Her return to the Georgia Museum of Art “felt like family.” Athens is much more than a college town — it is a city that embraces growth. Recurring museum programs like Family Day and Museum Mix produce spaces for all generations to appreciate art. From creating a mandala to learning about Buddhist art, each new experience contributes to the education of thousands of individuals. Now Steinmann has the opportunity to create programs for artistic understanding and personal development. While external structural changes are important, Steinmann creates programs for the museum that inspire people from the inside out.

McKenzie Peterson
Intern, Department of Communication

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Museum Welcomes New Students to University

Freshman orientation at the Tate Student Center

Each year, thousands of new faces — ranging from excited to terrified — appear on campus, gearing up for the fall semester when they will officially be Georgia Bulldawgs. They are incoming freshman, transfer students and graduate students, and they all have the chance to hit the ground running with an orientation just for them. 

Orientation acts as a guide for new students to do everything they may need to accomplish before moving to Athens this fall. This includes registering for classes, taking placement exams, touring the dorms and getting an overview of all of the programs and offerings on campus at the Resource Fair.

The Georgia Museum of Art has participated at the Resource Fair for the past four years, and it has been a great opportunity to show attendees that no matter what their interests may be, the university has a place for them.

Michael Lachowski, one of the museum’s representatives at each orientation, said, “Participating in the Resource Fair is a big commitment for us — it’s a lot of days and a lot of hours for staff to be standing around, hoping for an opportunity to interest new students or their parents in what we have to offer at the museum.”

This is certainly true; there are 17 freshman and five transfer orientation sessions throughout this summer. Although the effort is not minimal for this commitment, Lachowski is optimistic about the results.

He continued, “[We] think it’s worth the effort. We want the museum to have a place at the fair the same as it should be in the students’ experience at Georgia. And maybe some of them will just remember they saw our banner that said ‘Georgia Museum of Art.’”

With a campus as large as the University of Georgia, it is easy to fear you will be lost in the mix. But orientation and the Resource Fair allow students to see that there are faces behind all of these units and organizations, and they are all ready to make your college experience the best it can be.