Director’s Message: September-December, 2012

In June I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the major exhibition George Bellows at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. There I had the privilege of seeing George Bellows’ Snow Capped River, one of the highlights of Telfair Museums’ permanent collection, hanging alongside dozens of other major Bellows works gathered from museum and private collections worldwide. From there, our painting will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, before returning to its home at the Telfair Academy next summer. Telfair Museums is honored to be a part of this major international traveling exhibition that shines new light on this important American artist in our collection.

This experience is indicative of my vision for Telfair Museums-focusing our efforts on two important, concurrent goals: national excellence and local

Key examples of national excellence include our work at the Owens-Thomas House to create new scholarship on the important topic of urban slavery. Last fall’s Slavery and Freedom in Savannah Symposium captured national attention and enabled Telfair Museums to receive a grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences to publish our scholarship in a book, due out next fall. Additionally, we recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of a major Robert Henri exhibition we are working on for next year.

At the same time, we must continually ensure that our exhibitions and programs are relevant for the local community. I was honored to collaborate with Tom Kohler and his team at Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy recently to present a series of exhibitions and public programs that highlights the dignity and contributions of people with disabilities. And, thanks to the continued support of the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs, our education team continues to go outside   of museum walls into city parks and community centers to bring the joy of art to new audiences.

As fall approaches, we look forward   to several new exhibitions and programs that exemplify national excellence and local relevance.

We are pleased to kick off the season at the Jepson Center with Dan Winters’s America: Icons and Ingenuity, the first solo museum exhibition of iconic photography by one of the most recognizable photographers working in the U.S. today. This exhibition, organized by Telfair Museums, is already capturing the attention of national press including The New Yorker and Time Magazine. We are delighted to partner with the Savannah College of Art and Design
to present an artist talk specifically for their
photography students.

Telfair Museums is excited to be one of six museums participating in a nationwide contemporary art project to coincide with the 2012 presidential election, Your Land/My Land: Election ’12. New York artist Jonathan Horowitz will transform a public space at the Jepson Center into a bipartisan town hall that invites the community in to explore the role of the 24-hour news media on the political process.

At the Telfair Academy, we are pleased to present Working South: Watercolor Portraits by Mary Whyte, a four-year-in-the-making series of watercolors that documents the fading livelihoods of blue-collar workers in the South.

Our 2012 season culminates in December with the opening of the major international exhibition Offering of the Angels: Paintings and Tapestries from the Uffizi Gallery. Telfair Museums is one of four museums in the U.S. presenting this exhibition of Italian Renaissance masterworks drawn from the permanent collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy – one of the greatest and most culturally significant art museums in the world. Works by legendary artists such as Botticelli, Titian, and Tintoretto will be on display, and we are planning a number of lectures and education programs to enhance the community’s understanding and enjoyment of the exhibition.

Telfair Museums is also delighted to feature several popular annual programs and events this fall, including the 10th Annual Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival, annual Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Lecture Series featuring artist Whitfield Lovell, and our annual Cool Yule Holiday event, to name a few. We also look forward to the 18th Annual Telfair Art Fair: Arte Al Fresco, led by chair Allison Kelly and her dedicated committee, which takes its inspiration from the Uffizi exhibition. It is a busy time of year at the Telfair, so be sure to reference the events section of the magazine and take a moment to mark your calendars now!

I look forward to seeing you at Telfair Museums,

Lisa Grove