High Museum to dedicate more space to African art

With perhaps less fanfare than has surrounded gains for its photography and contemporary art collections, African art has become a growth industry at the High Museum of Art.

The High is expanding the footprint of the Fred and Rita Richman Gallery for African Art from 2,400 to 4,000 square feet, so that it will occupy almost half of the Wieland Pavilion’s Lower Level. Fittingly, the museum will open the expansion on June 28 with an exhibition showcasing nearly 40 recent African art acquisitions, “African Art: Building the Collection.”

The expansion grew out of a pledge by the Richmans, New York-based patrons of African art at the High for more than four decades.

“I am thrilled for the opportunities the newly expanded gallery presents for the future of African art at the museum,” High African art curator Carol Thompson said in a statement. The museum’s African collection now numbers 862 pieces.

On view through May 31, 2015, “Building the Collection” will represent a diverse range of artistic expressions from nations including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Africa and South Sudan.

Historic pieces by unidentified artists will be shown alongside works by 20th-century artists including Asante carver Osei Bonsu. Ancient works will include a large stone tool from what is now Niger and royal arts from West African kingdoms, including an ivory rattle from Owo, a city famous for its ivory carvers. More recent pieces will include a mid-20th century Cameroon headdress adorned with African grey parrot tail feathers and “Bus Ride” (1996), a large-scale paper construction by South African artist Kay Hassan.

Also opening on the Wieland Pavilion’s Lower Level on June 28 will be “Top Drawer: Select Drawings from the High’s Collection.” Featuring more than 70 drawings drawn from the American, European, folk and modern and contemporary collections, the exhibit (through Jan. 4, 2015) will include works by Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Salvador Dali and John Singer Sargent. Ellsworth Kelly’s “Peony” (1979) and Jasper Johns’ “Untitled” (2010) are recent acquisitions being shown for the first time.

1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.high.org.


New Georgia Tech leader

A. Madison Cario has been named director of the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech, where she will begin work Aug. 4. She will be responsible for Arts@Tech initiatives, including programs at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

Cario comes to Tech from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where she was named director of student engagement last year and worked as director of special artistic initiatives for four years.

“I cannot imagine a more exhilarating and inspiring place to be than here, right in the middle of the intersection of arts and technology,” Cario said.


Art benefits nature center

Roswell’s new Wild Hope Art Gallery will open “The Art of Nature,” a fund-raising exhibit to benefit the Chattahoochee Nature Center, with a 6-9 p.m. June 26 reception.

The show will feature wildlife and landscape artist Mike Brown, ceramicist Regina Wolff and botanical artist Justin Schneider.

Half of the proceeds from “The Art of Nature,” on view through July 3, will go to the nature center on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, an environmental learning center that reaches more than 100,000 children and adults yearly.

Artist Diane Buffington opened Wild Hope in Ellard Village, a subdivision two miles east of Georgia 400, in March making it the rare Roswell gallery beyond the Canton Street area. Its mission is to bring original paintings, pottery, art glass and jewelry by regional and national artists to east Roswell.

8470 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 120, Roswell. 678-580-0493, www.wildhopeartgallery.com.


Aurora to participate in Latin fest

Aurora Theatre has been selected to participate in the 2014 LATC Encuentro, a Latin theater festival at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Oct. 12 through Nov. 10. Aurora will remount Karen Zacarias' "Mariela en el Desierto" ("Mariela in the Desert"), a production of its Spanish-language offshoot troupe, Teatro del Sol.

Being billed as the first national Latin theater festival in more than 25 years, LATC Encuentro will bring together performing 100 artists. Information: thelatc.org.

Theatrical Outfit appoints managing director

Theatrical Outfit has announced the selection of Lee Foster as its new managing director. Foster, who led Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, Calif., for 16 years, starts July 7.

At the country’s sixth-oldest continuously operating amateur theater company, Foster increased the annual budget from $300,000 to almost $1 million, paid off its debt, completed critical capital projects, helped create strong-drawing shows and began a conservatory that serves up to 600 young people each year.