(Photo by Curt Yeomans)
Arts Clayton Gallery Curator Donna Parker (left) and Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal examine pieces in the traveling exhibit, "Prints by Women: Selected European and American Works from the Georgia Museum of Art," during an Aug. 3 sneak peak event at the Jonesboro-based gallery.
By Curt Yeomans
Forget Ladies Night. All of those female artists out there in the world, and across time, are getting the spotlight for the next two months, at the Arts Clayton Gallery in Jonesboro.
The gallery opened a new special exhibit, featuring female artists, this past Friday. It is a traveling collection on loan from the Georgia Museum of Art called "Prints by Women: Selected European and American Works from the Georgia Museum of Art."
The exhibit will remain on display until Sept. 23, at the gallery, located at 136 South Main Street, in Jonesboro.
The entire collection is made up of works of art created by female artists, from the 18th Century to the present, using a variety of printing techniques.
"It's artists in our collection," said Christy Sinksen, the associate registrar for the Georgia Museum of Art. "Our curator drew from our collection of about 6,000 works on paper, [and] under the theme of drawing attention to women as printmakers, selected works from a range across time. So, we have some impressionist-era artists represented, on up through contemporary [artists]."
The Arts Clayton Gallery is the first stop for the exhibit, since the Georgia Museum of Art re-launched its traveling exhibit program after an extensive, recently completed renovation of its facilities in Athens, according to Sinksen.
She said officials with the museum, which is a part of the University of Georgia, were introduced to Arts Clayton officials through the university's Archway Partnership Project.
"Arts Clayton had gotten in touch with the Archway Partnership, regarding cultural opportunities offered by the university," Sinksen said.
She later added, "as a state museum of Georgia, we put a premium on getting our work out in the community as much as possible, to be enjoyed by the entire state, [and] not just Athens."
Sinksen said the exhibit on display at the Arts Clayton Gallery is made up of 48 pieces of print work, such as drawings and paintings, out of the 6,000 print pieces in the museum's collection. She said the museum's full collection, including sculptures and decorative arts, totals 9,000 pieces. The pieces included in the traveling exhibit, she said, cut across a wide variety of art styles.
"The works were selected to demonstrate a variety of printmaking techniques and media," she said. "So, it becomes a show, just as much about printmaking itself as an art form, as it is about women in the arts."
This is not the first time the gallery has featured a special exhibit on loan from a museum, but it is still a rare occurrence for the gallery, which typically shows artwork that is created by people within its own network of artists, and is for sale.
Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin said the arts group had to create a strategic plan for future growth, however, as part of a grant it received last year. A tenet in that strategic plan is to incorporate more special exhibits, on loan from museums, on a regular basis, she said.
"One of the goals, out of the strategic plan, was to extend our image, and our focus, beyond our boundaries," Summerlin said. "With that in mind, we thought ... to have an exhibit from another museum, in partnership, would bring people in from outside of Clayton County, in here ...
"So, our goal each year going forward is, at some point in the planning, to have a [traveling] exhibit that is not for sale," she added. "That is outside of our norm to bring someone in, or to partner with someone to have a special exhibit."
Former Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers, who did initial work to get the traveling exhibit on the gallery's calendar, said the women's theme was chosen from several options because it focused on both female artists and the different types of printmaking techniques used by artists.
"We thought, of the ones [exhibit options] that were presented, that this would have a really great appeal, to show not only women, but also give the educational component of the printmaking with it," Powers said.
In connection with the new exhibit, Arts Clayton will host two children's education workshops, which focus on printmaking and "sumi-e" painting techniques, on Sept. 17, at 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., at the gallery.
Participation in the workshop costs $5 per person, and reservations are recommended.
During a sneak peak at the exhibit on Aug. 3, Georgia first lady Sandra Deal said she was "delighted" to see artwork created by women who were striving to be "successful as artists in their own right." During her visit to the gallery, Deal took extra time to marvel at several lithographs and woodcuts, featuring a variety of settings, such as beaches, forests and farms, that have been included in the exhibit.
"The art is lovely," she said. "The various mediums they've used, and the colors, and styles are interesting. It's always interesting to see what artists choose to paint, or to portray, because they have such unique eyes, I think, to see the beauty in things that some of us overlook."
Call (770) 473-5410, for more information on the gallery, or the exhibit. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., on Saturdays.