Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art: Embracing Differences

CherryLion Studios Sculpture
CherryLion Studios Sculpture
If children can so clearly see that prejudice and intolerance are wrong, I for one do not understand why grown-ups can't do the same. In the exhibit Embracing Differences: Students Draw the Line Against Prejudice, 5th through 12th grade students throughout Atlanta are the model citizens. We can learn a lot from these kids.

On exhibit now through Sunday, February 13, 2011, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has put on another extraordinary exhibit in Embracing Differences. The exhibit is a hybrid student and professional artists exhibition.

Some of the Student Winners
Some of the Student Winners
As always, docent-led tours are available on Sundays at 2:00 p.m., but this time I decided to explore on my own. I've done the tour before and highly recommend them.

When I arrived at the third floor of the Weltner Library on the Oglethorpe campus, I was kindly greeted by the Museum staff (one of the two young ladies I remembered from when I was there for the Nineteenth Century French Master Drawing and Sculpture exhibit).

Although I'd visited the Museum's website before going, I didn't notice that this particular exhibition is free, which I hope is incentive to draw a larger audience. It's a great way for locals to check out the museum to determine if you'd like to return for other planned exhibits for later this year.

Art Class
Art Class
After the greeting and the great news of free admission I welcomed into the Museum. I noticed in the one gallery that an art class was being conducted (Yeah! It's a working Museum).

I overheard the instructor note that the class was soon wrapping up, so I visited the other gallery first. I was invited to tour the gallery where class was taking place, which I found impressive … their endeavor to share knowledge through beauty didn't stop because of a class in the museum.

The Scales of Equality
"The Scales of Equality"
by Darrel Mobley
The Exhibit

I’ve seen many student art exhibits over the years (and even had a piece of my own sculpture on exhibit in the Greenville County Museum of Art when I was in 5th grade and some of my photography exhibited at a show in Utah when I was in 12th grade living in Wyoming), but I do not recall seeing a student exhibit that was quite so poignant.

And, bias aside, there also is more quality artistic ability in Atlanta's youth than I had expected, which is always a nice surprise.

The exhibit collection includes sculptures, drawings, paintings, and multi-media creations, some realistic, some more on the abstract side.

Lauren Baldwin, right
Lauren Baldwin (right)
My favorite piece of the student art I like for its inscription. Created by Lauren Baldwin, a second grader at International Community School, she wrote, "I noticed when I was working on my art project that I looked different than my friends. My hair is long and dark, my skin is dark brown. My friends have different skin colors and hair colors. We eat different foods. But my friends and I all wear the same friendship bracelet."

Lauren is seven years old and she gets it, she understands.

The Other Artists

CherryLion Studios
CherryLion Studios
If the free admission isn't enough to entice you to go check out this exhibit, maybe the 20 professional artists on exhibit will be. Do the names CherryLion Studios and Salvador Dali whet your appetite?

CherryLion Studios, specifically owner and artist Martin Dawe, is the artistic talent behind the World Athletes Monument at Pershing Point and Hope at the Jimmy Carter Library. Currently on display are several CherryLion rather dramatic sculptures of various mediums.

I love their work. I had not heard of them until I started writing this blog and next thing I knew, I started seeing their name all over Atlanta. They've created pieces for clients in other cities throughout the United States and several international locales as well.

Salvador Dali lithograph
Salvador Dali
The Salvador Dali piece on exhibit (in full disclosure, there's only one Dali piece, but even that is remarkable in my book) is a limited edition lithograph of a painting that I do not recall seeing before, and I've been to the Dali museum in St. Petersburg (my birth city) and the recent Dali exhibit at the High Museum of Art, not to mention the number of Dali books I've examined.

Tying Dali to the Draw the Line exhibit, I have always found it interesting that someone so different can elicit such public admiration (tolerance) while someone else who is normal is deemed an outcast (prejudice) just because of different skin color or culture. I really don't get it.

The world is a puzzling, troubled place sometimes, but the young people who contributed to this exhibit offer a ray of hope. Personally, I hope to one day live in a world free of prejudice, a world similar to the vision these students offered their thought-provoking, optimistic artistic expression.

Student Work
Student Work
I'll leave with you a quote from the exhibit program taken from one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson: "In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it."

The Return

Will I go again to the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art? The first and second times were amazing, so yes, I'll definitely return. Actually, I'm anxious to see their next exhibit, opening Sunday, March 13, 2011, which will feature works by contemporary artists from India.

Touring the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Date toured: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: 4484 Peachtree Road, NE (directions and map)

Cost: Free (free for this exhibit, usually $5)
Parking: Free onsite parking

Weltner Library, Oglethorpe University
Weltner Library,
Oglethorpe University

1 comment:

Terry said...

Thanks for covering Oglethorpe. All our colleges/universities have excellent yet mostly unknown galleries.