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Spelman Museum Invites Broader Reflection About College’s Art Collection


Media Contacts:
Audrey Arthur

Wyatt Phillips

ATLANTA (Jan. 23, 2013) --  Stepping into the archives housing thea3 blackface#65, iona rozeal brownSpelman College Museum of Fine Art permanent collection is akin to diving into a treasure trove of mixed media. Paintings, textiles, prints and sculptures by Faith Ringgold, iona rozeal brown, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Hale Woodruff are among the 350 pieces in the collection. The museum has opened the doors of its collection storage to friends and champions of the institution, who have in turn, helped to create the upcoming exhibition, “Multiple Choice: Perspectives on the Spelman College Collection.”

Through this unique project, students, faculty, staff, friends of the museum, alumnae, and other stakeholders have been invited to view the College’s art collection, select an object, and then document their responses. As part of the exhibition, responses from 50 participants will be shared with museum visitors via object labels, recorded video statements, social media, and other interactive means. “Multiple Choice” will be on view from Feb. 7-May 18, 2013.

Spelman College’s permanent holdings are a rich resource. African, ethnographic, and three-dimensional artifacts comprise the core of the permanent holdings, which date back to the 1940s. The collection of African art includes works from Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa. The permanent holdings also include works by celebrated artists including Beverly Buchanan, Sheila Pree Bright, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Lalla Essaydi, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Nandipha Mntambo, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, and many others.

Alumnae, faculty, staff, students, scholars, and the general public regularly inquire about works in the College’s permanent collection and offer insightful feedback and reflections. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the museum, explained, “‘Multiple Choice’ offers the unprecedented opportunity for an array of stakeholders to select, engage, and discuss specific works. Two factors helped guide the project: first, that it was challenging for most to choose just one work and secondly, that as in multiple choice tests, the answer is more often than not ‘all of the above.’”

Members of the community taking part in the exhibition include Chris Appleton, founder and executive director of WonderRoot; Lucinda Bunnen, photographer and arts patron; Arthur J. Clement, architect and president of Clement & Wynn program managers; Tananarive Due, Spelman College Cosby Endowed Chair in the Humanities and an award- winning science fiction author; Leatrice Ellzy, managing partner of Beatrix Moss and member of the Fulton County Arts Council; Michelle S. Hite, Ph.D., Spelman College department of English lecturer; Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO of UNCF; Susan J. Ross, photo-griot; and Daryl White, Ph.D., Spelman College professor of anthropology.

“‘Multiple Choice’ is an open invitation for viewers to have firsthand engagement with the College’s growing collection,” said Anne Collins Smith, the curator of collections. “This project challenges the widespread idea that museums are exclusive institutions that are inaccessible to the general public. ‘Multiple Choice’ affirms viewing art is an interactive experience and quenches the contemporary thirst for on-demand access.”  

To schedule a group tour of “Multiple Choice: Perspectives on the Spelman College Collection,” please contact Makeba Dixon-Hill, curator of education, at mdixon@spelman.edu or 404-270-5682.

To learn more about the exhibition “Multiple Choice: Perspectives on the Spelman College Collection,” please visit spelmanmuseum.org. To interact with the museum and its community, share your perspective on the College’s art collection, and receive the latest museum news and exclusives, follow the museum on facebook.com/spelmanmuseum, and twitter.com/spelmanmuseum. Once you arrive at the museum, be sure to check in on foursquare.

The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is located in the Atlanta University Center on the Spelman College campus on the first floor of the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center at 350 Spelman Lane.

For visitors using GPS navigations systems, the following address will bring you directly to the entrance of Spelman College: 440 Westview Drive, S.W. Atlanta, GA 30310.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays, major holidays and official College breaks. For more information on the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, visit spelmanmuseum.org.

About Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art provides a learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumnae. Museum activities enhance the cultural and intellectual development of the College’s community through the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of important works of art. Artists affiliated with the Atlanta University Center are of particular interest. As the only museum in the nation that focuses on works by and about women of Africa and the African Diaspora in its collections, exhibitions and programs, the museum serves as a complement to local, regional, national, and international art resources.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit spelman.edu.

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