Friday, August 29, 2014

$2.5 million gift supports High Museum's folk art initiative

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Nellie Mae Rowes Happy Days

The High Museum of Art's folk and self-taught art initiatives got a huge boost this week.

The museum announced that is has received a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta-based patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone to support the initiatives, including the endowment of a permanent, full-time curatorial position to lead the department. With the gift, all seven of the collecting departments at the High have a full-time endowed curatorial position.

"Since starting our Folk Art Department in 1994, the High has worked to raise awareness and appreciation of folks and self-taught artists locally and nationally, building one of the preeminent folk arts collections in the U.S.," said Michael Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director at the High, in a statement.

The Boone family have been longtime supporters of the High and collectors of folk and self-taught art, supporting exhibitions over the past 30 years. Dan Boone is a current member of the museum's Board of Directors, and formerly served as the managing partner of Atlanta Capital Management Company, LLC.

At the heart of the folk art collection is the T. Marshall Hahn Collection, and Judith Alexander's gift of 130 works by Atlanta artist Nellie Mae Rowe. The High's Folk and Self-Taught Art Department also features works by artists such as Bill Traylor, Thornton Dial, Ulysses Davis, as well as the largest Howard Finster collection outside of Paradise Garden in Summerville, Ga.

"Merrie and I shared a passion for Southern self-taught art," Boone said in a statement. "We also shared a vision: for the High to develop the world's preeminent collection of self-taught art and folk art. A talented curator will help the High build its valuable collection, create ties to Southern artists and collectors, and attract visitors creative exhibits and programming."

The High is currently conducting a national search to fill the curator position. The museum's Folk Art curator position was previously held by Joanne Cubbs (1994 to 1997), Lynne Spriggs (1997 to 2003), and Susan Crawley (2004 to 2013).

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