Showcase & Tell: Treasures from the Spelman College Permanent Collection
Jan. 29 - May 16, 2009
During the course of more than six decades, Spelman College has amassed an impressive collection of African and African-American art created by renowned artists including Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Hale Woodruff, and Nancy Elizabeth Prophet. Showcase & Tell: Treasures from the Spelman College Permanent Collection featured more than 60 works and traced the evolution of the College’s permanent collection. It examined Spelman’s history from the founding of the department of art in 1931 to the development of the Atlanta University Center Coordinated Art Program in 1965 and the establishment of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in 1996.
The College acquired its collection through the generosity of alumnae, artists, trustees, and friends. The exhibition featured a selection of gifts to the College including African objects from diplomat and Spelman College trustee Mabel Murphy Smythe-Haith, a bequest from artist Selma Burke, and the promised gift of African ceramics created by women who reside throughout Africa from Gale and William Simmons.
In addition, Showcase & Tell presented important works by celebrated African-American artists Herman “Kofi” Bailey, Sam Gilliam, Faith Ringgold, Henry Ossawa Tanner as well as Atlanta-based artists James Adair, Jenelsie Walden Holloway, Debra Johnson, and Freddie Styles. Recent acquisitions by artists including Amalia Amaki, iona rozeal brown, and the artist collaborative Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry were also on view.
Showcase & Tell , an original exhibition curated by Anne Collins Smith, the curator of Collections at the museum, captured Spelman’s visual arts history and positioned the museum as a repository for important works. The exhibition explored the Museum’s mission to focus on works by and about women of the African Diaspora.