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National Scrollathon – Alabama Edition

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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is Alabama’s host for artists Steven and William Ladds’ country-wide, collaborative visual arts project which aims to unite Americans in celebration of America’s 250th Birthday in 2026. Pieces produced from all 50 states will go on view at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 26, 2026.

Starting on March 11, approximately 500 invited participants will arrive in Auburn across five days to create a collage in shades of green, ranging from mint to lime to emerald, a nod to Alabama’s timber industry, its national forests and growth in sustainability. The invited groups represent all ages, ethnicities, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Ladds document each participant’s meaning for their scroll, creating authentic connections around a shared goal. The statewide event culminates in an installation of the piece as each frame is completed, with a final reveal at the museum’s “Spring Fling” on Thursday, May 9 at 5 p.m.

Learn more about the National Scrollathon
Artist Steven and William Ladd hold a frame filled with fabric scrolls, instructing workshop participants.

Steven and William Ladd are New York-based brothers and artists “known for vibrant, highly textural artwork that evokes childhood memories,” working at the intersection of design, applied, and fine art. William discovered beading at 15 and Steven began making clothes while studying at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. After moving to Brooklyn to collaborate, their formal artistic partnership began in 2000 while creating accessories that attracted interest from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, which included their work in a major exhibition. Selected for the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt’s Design Triennial in 2006, the Ladd’s artworks began representing people, places, and memories of their shared childhood, an evolving theme throughout their practice.

Skilled in the traditions of “handwork” of sewing and beading, the artists are always seeking materials to incorporate into their work and are especially attuned to the notion of adaptive reuse. The discovery of a warehouse full of cotton webbing and belt findings in what is now The Invisible Dog Art Center provided them with the impetus to not only delve deeply into the physical aspect of these materials but also as a pathway toward a broader artmaking process. Working face to face across a table, the brothers wound webbing into scrolls.

Throughout their careers, Steven and William Ladd have developed an interactive and hands-on approach to artmaking that melds fine art, design, and craft with their dedication to interactive collaboration, education, and community engagement. In all their work, the importance of meaningful content couched in a visual language of beauty has guided them from small-scale, intimate sculptural objects to what has now become an ongoing, inclusive, and embracing project under the umbrella of what they call Scrollathon. The content of their artworks is often drawn from their own shared memories and experiences, and it is through this lens that they have developed a way to encourage others to do the same, based on the idea of a scroll as an ancient form of communication.

The Jule Museum Podcast – Episode 26: Elizabeth M. Webb and Joy Harjo

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Elizabeth M. Webb and Joy Harjo in conversation at the Auburn Forum for Southern Art and Culture, a symposium organized by The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University on February 3, 2024.

Joy Har­jo, the 23rd Poet Lau­re­ate of the Unit­ed States, is a mem­ber of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Elizabeth M. Webb’s exhibition “a bearing tree is a witness; an oak is an echo” is currently on view at The Jule as part of the series “Radical Naturalism” through July 7, 2024.

The Jule Museum Podcast – Episode 24: Walter Hood

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Walter Hood talks about growing up in North Carolina and how he approaches painting in his creative practice. His exhibition “Arc of Life/Ark of Bones” opens on January 23, 2024, at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. The exhibition features a new series of paintings that recall memories from the first ten years of his life.

Walter Hood is the creative director and founder of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, California. He is also Chair and Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley

Auburn Research: Set In Stone

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“Monuments and Myths: The America of Sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French” kicked off a national tour at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University this summer, bringing the work of America’s premier Gilded Age sculptors to The Plains. Faculty and students from the College of Liberal Arts and College of Education created research-based projects to educate and engage visitors during the exhibition run at Auburn.

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Exhibition Dates:

October 4, 2014-January 25, 2015
Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Galleries

November 20, 5 pm
Artist Talk: Billy Renkl

JCSM is pleased to present the work of Auburn University alumnus Billy Renkl, ‘85. Prompted by passages in Henry David Thoreau’s journals, each piece in this exhibition begins with the artist’s deliberate, personal reading of Thoreau’s writing. Using found paper and illustrations from myriad sources ranging from used books and postcards to legal documents, Renkl garners meaning from his materials. The resulting object reverberates with Thoreau’s language and Renkl’s experience of thinking about and interpreting Thoreau. Together in the exhibition, the thirty pieces become a visual and linguistic conversation between Henry David Thoreau and Billy Renkl.

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The Jule Museum Podcast – Episode 21: Memory Mine

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Sam Moyer talks about her exhibition “Memory Mine” at The Jule with Laura Sitterly ’23. Centering the exhibition on Alabama’s richness in natural resources and regional artists’ contributions, Moyer creates sculptures and paintings from one natural marble boulder mined in Sylacauga, Alabama.

The Jule Museum Podcast – Episode 20: Art Bargain of the Century

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Charlotte Hendrix reads excerpts from “The Art Bargain of the Century” an unbelievable saga of how Auburn University purchased 36 controversial masterpieces and opened a world-class art museum for the 21st century, published in the Fall 2023 issue of Auburn Magazine.