SAVANNAH, GA (July 1, 2022) — Telfair Museums is thrilled to announce its plans to open the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) at the Jepson Center in 2023. The museum has partnered with local design firm Fren Inc. to transform a portion of the Jepson Center into a space that ignites creativity and enriches children of all ages.
“This winter, Telfair Museums will undertake an exciting project to build a new Telfair Children’s Art Museum in the Jepson Center for the Arts. The Telfair Children’s Art Museum (CAM) will address a significant need identified through our strategic planning process to provide an updated museum experience that offers our members, visitors, and local school communities transformative learning experiences for all ages and styles of learning using modern technologies, immersive environments, and low-tech and hands-on activities,” said Benjamin T. Simons, executive director and CEO. “The new Children’s Art Museum will also serve as a major attraction for the thousands of visitors to our area, and for local families and school children seeking educational experiences that address the needs and expectations of contemporary audiences.”
Jepson Center guests will enter CAM through an informative tunnel gallery that serves as a portal to a space filled with state-of-the-art technology and activity stations. Other major galleries include a Family Lounge, Toddler Area, and a suite of immersive and interactive spaces. Telfair Museums’ strategic plan prioritizes implementing programs and projects that make the community feel welcome, and the Children’s Art Museum will be a great milestone in an effort to make Telfair truly a place for everyone.
“The Telfair Children’s Art Museum will create the only children’s art museum in the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire,” Simons said. “The Children’s Art Museum will prove transformative for the regional and national identity of Telfair as an institution, attract a wide range of new audiences, and quite literally position Telfair Museums at the cutting edge of museum and visitor experiences for the 21st century.”
Since the 1920s, Telfair has welcomed more than 100,000 students to the museum through a partnership with Savannah-Chatham County Schools, and group tour programs continue to evolve daily under the leadership of Harry DeLorme, longtime director of education and senior curator.
“Art education for children and families has long been a core activity of Telfair Museums, which has presented interactive children’s art exhibitions for decades,” DeLorme said. “At Telfair, we feel that it is essential to engage young people early on with works of art and creative activity by providing opportunities that help them learn how to look at art to build visual thinking skills, and that encourage them to explore their own creativity.”
“The Telfair Children’s Art Museum will expand our ability to educate and empower Savannah’s children. Through our partnership with Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, and our expanded free admission for locals program, the Children’s Art Museum will attract children and families to the museum who otherwise might not be able to visit,” said Swann Seiler, chair of the museum’s Board of Trustees.
Community philanthropists Jackie Rabinowitz and Cynthia Willett, whose most recent efforts brought to Savannah the Sunshine Park and Healing Garden at the Children’s Hospital, are partnering with Telfair to bring CAM to life.
“We were inspired to co-lead this important project after experiencing the transformation that Stephen Nottingham, co-founder and CEO of FREN Design, brought to the Sunshine Park and Healing Garden at the Children’s Hospital,” Rabinowitz and Willett said. “We are both aware Telfair Museums is a leader in arts education, a place children in our community have access to, and our goal is to make their visit as remarkable and creative as possible, and to provide a fun learning experience through the latest technology that fosters an appreciation of the arts.”
As technology continues to evolve and influence the way museum-goers experience art, Telfair will be the first to implement modern practices and design in the area.
“FREN is ready to unite Telfair Museums with purposeful design and technology to create an extraordinary children’s art museum experience that will inspire the next generation of our future leaders and deliver outcomes that enrich Telfair Museums visitor experience for the regional community and beyond,” said Stephen Nottingham, FREN CEO. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Telfair Museums to unveil an innovative, one-of-a-kind children’s art museum. The central focus of Telfair Children’s Art Museum encompasses the idea of ‘Art Exploration’ and encourages children and visitors of all ages to dive into the world of art through storytelling, digital and tactile interactions, and immersive Artscapes.”
Upon exiting the tunnel gallery, visitors will be able to experience immersive art galleries, family lounge areas, an engaging toddler area, and more. The family lounge will be a space that focuses less on technology and encourages more traditional methods of learning. The toddler area will provide a space for children 0-3 years old. The area will include tactile exhibits meant to get children building and thinking about art and architecture.
“We are thrilled to share this major project with our community, and we thank Jackie Rabinowitz and Cynthia Willett for their passionate advocacy for the undertaking,” Seiler said. “Telfair Museums’ mission is to serve our community and to provide transformational museum experiences for all ages. We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the new Children’s Art Museum in Spring 2023!”
Sponsorships and donations are now open for the Children’s Art Museum project. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Fren Inc
Formally founded in late spring of 2017 by Stephen Nottingham (Chief Executive Officer) and Inwon Jong (Chief Design Officer), FREN is a multidisciplinary design, technology and innovation company based in Richmond Hill, Ga. The team is comprised of former SCAD classmates and peers – “a family of passionate creators” – that specialize in over 20 interdisciplinary design disciplines that are translated into a variety of design services.
About Telfair Museums
Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and the first U.S. museum founded by a woman. The museum features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District and encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information on Telfair Museums, visit telfair.org.