Atlanta University Center Consortium

AUC Offers A Treasure Trove of Beauty, History and Art

admin

It was 1931 when Hale Woodruff, an abstract painter, and Nancy Prophet, a painter and sculptor, established the art departments for the Atlanta University Center institutions. Through the visionary genius of Woodruff, AUC’s cultural heart and soul emerged as the staging ground for some of the world’s most talented Black artists.

For nearly 20 years, Woodruff would not only develop art instruction for AUC students but also would create a platform for the Atlanta University Art Annuals and catapult AUC as an art haven.

Whether ingesting the murals of Woodruff, being inspired by the wordsmith Martin Luther King Jr., experiencing a vibrant art collection in a library setting, or bearing witness to art by and about women of the African Diaspora, the AUC is a canopy of artistic treasures that rival any museum.

Nancy Prophet

Clark Atlanta University, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library and Spelman College serve as purveyors of beauty, knowledge, history and social justice. Unmistakably individual, yet linked by common treads of talent, culture, experiences, civic engagement and righteous indignation.

The must-see works in the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, unique and rare collections at the Woodruff Library, and femininity and originality at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art are a treasure trove of beauty, art and history in the AUC.

Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

With a permanent collection of 1,215 works, the CAU Art Museum features bodies of work that include the likes of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s “Disciples Healing the Sick,” Romare Bearden’s “Snow Morning,” Jacob Lawrence’s “Brownstones,” Elizabeth Catlett’s “Negro Women,” and Woodruff’s “Art of the Negro” mural series.

Fathi Hassan’s “Nubia,” 2012

Through Woodruff’s efforts with juried exhibitions from 1942 to 1970, CAU, formerly Atlanta University, served as a conduit from which to build the University’s collection. According to Brenda Thompson in the book “In the Eye of the Muses: Selections From the Clark Atlanta University Art Collection,” it was 1988 during the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University when then-President Thomas W. Cole Jr., Ph.D., asked Tina Dunkley to oversee CAU’s Trevor Arnett Hall renovation.

From this renovation, the CAU Art Museum moved from the basement to the second floor of Trevor Arnett. “When the new galleries opened, many of us were startled, feeling both proud and amazed that these quality works were a part of Clark Atlanta University’s permanent collection,” Thompson, an avid Black art collector and philanthropist, wrote.

Through the national juried competitions, Woodruff began the core foundation for what is now the permanent collection of the CAU Art Museum.

“If you’re really trying to understand African-American art, you would really want to come here,” said Maurita Poole, Ph.D., director of the CAU Art Museum. “People do not know about our collection of art and how it is a resource for them and how there is so much history about Atlanta University’s history and the art as well.”

Currently, the museum features two exhibitions, “Bitter/Sweet,” and “Fathi Hassan: Edge of Memory.” Running from Oct. 9-Dec. 9, 2016, “Bitter/Sweet” highlights works from the 1940s to the present featuring all nuances of the African-American experience. “Fathi Hassan: Edge of Memory,” which runs from Oct. 9-May 26, 2017, showcases the works of contemporary artist Fathi Hassan’s mixed-media works that explore the plight of Nubians, an ethnic group from southern Egypt and northern Sudan.

Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Just like many other libraries, there are books and periodicals, electronic resources, a learning commons, smart classrooms, study rooms, a print shop, free Wi-Fi, and a coffee shop in the Robert W. Woodruff Library; however, take another look, and one might think this is an art museum. With approximately 200 pieces of artwork on exhibit at a time, the art crux of the Woodruff Library is to have art that inspires the learning space.

From the “Start Something: Activism and the Atlanta Student Movement” exhibition

“A modern academic library should not just be considered as a place of information resources, but also as a place to motivate learning and thinking,” said Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the Woodruff Library. “When AUC faculty and students are studying or conducting research in an academic setting that is warm, inviting, and reflects beauty and creativity, we feel it serves to inspire them.”

It began where any education institution might begin – with students. In the mid-2000s, students would showcase their capstone art projects in what is now called the Woodi Gallery. From that, Mrs. Parham wanted to take it a step farther. With funding in 2010 for a renovation, the Knowledge and Arts Initiative was born.

The effort of the initiative is to promote student pride and ownership of the library, as well as inspire student thought and conversations through the visual arts. A range of works that includes sculpture, photography, loaned and owned art, including a signature piece titled “People of Color,” by Jonathan Romain, who has created work for President Barack Obama.

“People of Color” by Jonathon Romain

Four colorful student portraits representing CAU, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse and Spelman, “People of Color” demands notice. Romain was allowed to visit each campus to take photos. From those photos, he chose one that best captured that campus and that is the student he painted.

“I call it the centerpiece of the library, and it is captivating and is the staple of our Arts Initiative,” said Carolyn Hart, assistant director, Planning, Assessment & Communications for the Woodruff Library. “From the Carolinas to California, we have visited libraries and I have to say I’ve seen absolute gorgeous buildings. I’ve admired architecture, but as far as the art I really think we hands down are in a league of our own.”

Also, the library features AUC artists who include: Dr. William Anderson, Dr. Louis Delsarte, Derek Fordjour and Ross Oscar Knight (Morehouse College); Dr. Frank Toby Martin, Dr. Althea Murphy-Price, and Dr. Duhirwe Rushemeza (Spelman College); Tina Dunkley (Atlanta University); Ron Young (Clark College); Dante Yarbrough (Clark Atlanta University); and Freddie Styles (Morris Brown College).

In addition to the art, the AUC Woodruff Library Archives Research Center is home to several unique manuscripts, archival, photographic, art and media collections, including original pin and ink drawings by Hale Woodruff, photographic collections documenting the historical Atlanta University Center institutions, as well as the Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Memorial Collection, Hoyt Fuller Collection, and Lemoine DeLeaver Pierce Papers containing prints and photographs from the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movements.

Adding to the more than 100 collections in the Archives Research Center are the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. It was 2006 when a coalition of Atlanta movers and shakers led by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin brokered a $32 million deal to land the papers in the AUC.

Owned by Morehouse but housed at the Woodruff, the collection is made up of some 13,000 items, including some 1,100 books owned by the Nobel Peace Prize native son.

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

CNN coins it as one of the six reasons to love Atlanta, and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s mission to inspire and enrich the lives of all through art by women of the African Diaspora is the reason for such a designation.

“When Dr. Donald Stewart was president, he said, ‘You know we need to make sure we begin to collect art by Black women artist,’” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Museum of Fine Art and a 1993 Spelman graduate. “When the college’s collection began, we certainly didn’t have this precise mission.”

Located on the first floor of the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D., Academic Center at Spelman, the Museum of Fine Art was established in 1996 from part of a $20 million gift to the college from the Cosby family. The 4,500-square-foot exhibition features a climate-controlled vault for the permanent collection, a lab for routine art preparation, and a museum store.

“Most of what you get from the Museum of Art is the crème de la crème of contemporary art,” said Dr. Poole, who spent three years at the museum training as the graduate assistant before serving as the Andrew Mellon Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts at Williams College Museum of Art, followed by her current position at CAU Art Museum

Some of its more than 350 permanent holdings include the works of Kofi Bailey, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence Valerie Maynard, Faith Ringgold, Henry O. Tanner and Hale Woodruff. Also, the Museum of Fine Art was awarded a $250,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to pilot a curatorial studies program. Designed for juniors and seniors in various academic majors, the two-year collaborative program seeks to prepare the next generation of students of African descent for curatorial professions and serve as a pipeline to diversify a field described as 80 percent White, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

“When you think of the fact that there are only five of us in the field at the director level now, there just had to be some kind of effort to help diversify the field. We can begin to address that through our curatorial program,” said Dr. Brownlee, who is celebrating the museum’s 20th anniversary.

Currently on view until Dec. 3, 2016, at the Museum of Fine Art is “AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life,” an original exhibition that looks at fashion through two overlapping perspectives – an ever-changing global marketplace and the unique ways Black women construct their lives.

AUCC MEMBER INSTITUTIONS RECEIVE A CAMPUS-WIDE ASSESSMENT GRANT TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT

admin

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta award will help AUC improve its bottom line and adopt more eco-friendly practices.

ATLANTA (Sept. 12, 2016) – The Atlanta University Center Consortium received a Grants to Green Assessment Award from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to help its member institutions and the Robert W. Woodruff Library identify opportunities to reduce a collective $11.7 million in utility expenses.

Founded in 2008 by the Community Foundation in partnership with energy-efficiency expert Southface, and funding provided by The Kendeda Fund, Grants to Green gives nonprofits the opportunity to renovate or build healthier work places that are environmentally efficient, and provides environmentally focused knowledge and funding that strengthens nonprofits in the Atlanta region. Upon completion of campus assessments and recommendations for how to improve efficiency, AUCC institutions may apply up-to $500,000 matching implementation funding to execute the recommendations.

“This initiative is in line with the Atlanta University Center’s spirit of service – this time to our environment, as well as to our institutions,” said Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr., board chair of the Atlanta University Center Consortium.  “The dual opportunity to further our sustainability efforts and to positively affect our bottom-line is a win-win for the entire Consortium.”

Collaborative efforts by AUCC member institutions and the Woodruff Library include the installation of 35 security cameras and five license plate readers around the campus community; insurance pooling, Woodruff Library; central plant; AUCC Career Fairs and Dual Degree Engineering Program; joint radiation safety program; joint laboratory animal facilities; joint safety programs along with Atlanta Housing Authority and Atlanta Police Department; and EverFi Alcohol, Sexual Assault and Financial Literacy Modules.

Over the next year, Southface will extensively assess AUCC’s campus facilities to identify ways to improve energy and water efficiency. The assessment will also include organizational operations, such as waste reduction efforts and procurement, exterior site analysis including landscaping, waste reduction efforts, affirmative procurement, integrated pest management and green cleaning policies.

In 2008, Spelman College, along with Agnes Scott College, was one of the early institutions to receive the Grants to Green grant. The $50,000 grant, combined with an $80,000 matching grant from Home Depot enabled the College to reduce its annual utility cost by $90,000.

“We have seen remarkable results from our Grants to Green recipients,” said Alicia Philipp, president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “The whole process is data driven, enabling grant recipients to track data before, during and after assessment and implementation, which includes tracking energy and cost savings that can be significant over time. Having Green Champions engaged in the process helps to teach and inspire others to implement their own green practices both on campus and in their lives outside the University,” she added.

Tyronda Minter, director, Community Foundation added, “I’m thrilled to see how Art Frazier, as Spelman’s Green Champion, helped to leverage the Grants to Green resource as an opportunity for the partnership effort between the many universities in the Atlanta University System. That’s a sign of true Green Champion.”

For more information about the green efforts implemented at the AUCC institutions, please contact one of our Green Champions: Bonita Dukes at Clark Atlanta University; André E. Bertrand at Morehouse; Lawrence Jones at Morehouse School of Medicine; Kenneth Smith at Woodruff Library; and Don Blackston and Art Frazier at Spelman. In addition to working directly with the assessment team from Southface, the Green Champions will receive training and network with other Green Champions.

To know more about the Grants to Green Initiative, visit www.cfgreateratlanta.org or email GrantstoGreen@cfgreateratlanta.org.

###

About the Atlanta University Center Consortium Inc.

Founded in 1929, the Atlanta University Center Consortium is the world’s oldest association of historically Black colleges and universities. Comprised of four member institutions – Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College – the Consortium is a vibrant intellectual community with a long tradition of scholarship, service and community engagement. AUC Consortium Inc. is a nonprofit organization that operates on behalf of its members to advance each institution’s mission and strategic goals by fostering collaboration, managing centerwide initiatives, offering services that benefit our students and community, and leveraging our shared resources. Visit us at http://aucenter.edu/, or on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been connecting the passions of philanthropists with the purposes of nonprofits doing that work. With 65 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation manages the behind-the-scenes details, empowering our donors to focus on the joy of giving. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation nationally with $920 million in current assets and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. Through its quality services and innovative leadership on community issues, the Foundation received more than $113 million from donors in 2015 (unaudited) and distributed more than $139 million that same year to support nonprofits throughout the region and beyond. In 2016 Charity Navigator named the Community Foundation a four-star rated nonprofit, its top distinction. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

1 2
Secured By miniOrange