Atlanta foundation donates art cache to the 'Met'

The Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation has donated a significant body of work by self-taught African-American artists to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art from its William S. Arnett Collection.

The 57-work gift includes 10 pieces by Thornton Dial, 20 quilts dating from the 1930s from the women of Gee's Bend, Ala., as well as works by Lonnie Holley and Nellie Mae Rowe. All were collected by Atlantan Arnett.

“We are an institution dedicated to telling the story of art across all times and cultures, and this extraordinary gift is critical to that commitment,” Metropolitan Museum director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell said in a statement. “It embodies the profoundly deep and textured expression of the African-American experience during a complex time in this country’s history and a landmark moment in the evolution of the Met.”

The museum will mount an exhibition from the gift in fall 2016.

Arnett, who has been on a decades-long quest to gain respect for untrained African-American artists in the art world canon, and the foundation have shared a substantial number of works with Atlanta's High Museum of Art in touring exhibitions. In 2012-2013, the High mounted a touring show of 59 assemblages, sculptures and drawings by Dial that took up seven galleries and all three floors of the Anne Cox Chambers Wing. It was hailed as one of the major art events of the year. The Atlanta museum also exhibited Gee's Bend quilts in 2006.

Beginning in the 1990s, Arnett interests have donated seven pieces to the Atlanta museum.

The High long has shown considerable attention to self-taught art, creating a full-time folk art curator position in 1994 and assembling a folk collection now numbering nearly 800 pieces.

But the museum’s folk art department has seemed in a holding pattern since longtime folk art curator Susan Mitchell Crawley resigned in early 2013, concerning some patrons. When the High released an extensive list of recent acquisitions this summer, for instance, folk art was the only of its seven collecting departments omitted.

Before the Souls Grown Deep gift was revealed to be heading to a Northern rival museum, the High announced in August that it had received a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone that will endow a permanent, full-time folk art curator position as well as support related initiatives. The post had never been endowed, unlike the museum’s other lead curator roles.

The High is conducting a national search.


More than 50 artists to participate in Art Ramble

More than 50 artists across seven counties are gearing up for the third annual North Georgia Art Ramble, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7.

The 30 artist studios, galleries and arts centers participating in the free tour are scattered in towns including Calhoun, Cartersville, Woodstock, Marietta, Ellijay, Waleska, Rydal, Canton, Ball Ground, Jasper, Cumming, Buford, Milton and Roswell. Most stops are either in north metro Atlanta or less than an hour from the top end of I-285.

The tour covers a gamut of art expressions fit for holiday gift-giving, from paintings to jewelry and sculpture to ceramics.

A Pre-Ramble Party will be held 6-9 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Cherokee Arts Center, 94 North St., Canton. Guests may pick up a brochure and map, meet Ramble artists, view an exhibit of works by participants (up through December) and enjoy light refreshments. More details:


Star soloists to enhance Handel’s ‘Messiah’

The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and the Cathedral Schola of the Cathedral of St. Philip will be boosted by four celebrated soloists, including Atlanta-based countertenor David Daniels, when they perform Handel's "Messiah" on Dec. 13 and 14.

Featured along with Daniels will be Clara Rottsolk, soprano; Karim Sulayman, tenor; and Mischa Bouvier, baritone.

“We’re pleased to be bringing the complete ‘Messiah’ to Atlanta … with four top-notch soloists who are all internationally active performers,” ABO Artistic Director Julie Andrijeski said.

Handel’s music will be played on period instruments, “performed as nearly as we can reconstruct to the manner in which the composer himself would have imagined and experienced this music,” according to conductor Dale Adelmann.

The concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead (2744 Peachtree Road N.W.) and 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Roswell’s St. David’s Episcopal Church (1015 Old Roswell Road).

General admission: $25 advance, $35 day of concert. Seniors: $20 and $25. Students: $10 and $15. Patron tickets: $100 in advance (includes two preferred-seating tickets, held until 10 minutes prior to the concert).

Strand hosts Christmas pops concert

A highlight of a busy month of holiday programming at Marietta’s historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre shapes up to be the 7 p.m. Dec. 11 performance by Symphony on the Square. The 50-member pops orchestra, under the baton of founder Paul Hill, will play classic Christmas carols along with music from recent holiday movies.

Strand organist Ronald Carter also presents a pre-show concert with carol singalongs on the Mighty Allen Theatre Organ. General admission: $12.50. 117 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-293-0080,