This story, written by Hillary Brown, was originally published on UGA Today on Jan. 25, 2024.
The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia recently received a major grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation to reimagine and reinstall the museum’s permanent collection galleries. The $1,085,000 grant is the largest in the museum’s history.
The foundation is specifically interested in supporting the museum’s work as a university museum. To that end, a portion of the grant will expand the museum’s opportunities for UGA students, ensuring that they benefit from enhanced engagement with the museum’s collections and staff.
“The University of Georgia is very proud to be home to the Georgia Museum of Art,” said S. Jack Hu, UGA’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “We are immensely grateful to the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation for supporting the museum’s work and the university’s teaching, research and service missions.”
The grant also will fund new acquisitions of contemporary art to be installed in the galleries alongside the museum’s existing collection, creating new conversations and suggesting new ways to see and organize knowledge. The museum plans to generate ideas for new installations in active conversation with contemporary artists.
“This generous grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation is truly transformative,” said David Odo, director of the museum. “The foundation’s investment in the museum will enable us to think deeply and broadly about contemporary art and museum practice and to act boldly to implement research-based, meaningful change in the galleries.”
The grant will enable the museum to build on recent efforts to develop its contemporary art program. Associate curator of modern and contemporary art Kathryn Hill will lead the museum’s work with contemporary artists and new acquisitions.
“The project will convene distinguished artists and scholars from across campus, around the nation and throughout the world to come to the Georgia Museum of Art to exchange ideas and share their knowledge as we test new approaches to our exhibitions, teaching and programs,” said Shawnya Harris, the museum’s deputy director of curatorial and academic affairs and Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art. These visits will benefit current students, scholars and visitors as well as the next generation of museumgoers.
The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation advances contemporary art by supporting the work of emerging and mid-career artists, providing exposure for contemporary art where it may not otherwise be seen, and promoting awareness of the collections of grantee organizations.