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Supporting Auburn

Collection Spotlight: Auburn Oak Bowl

By Art, Building Community, News, Sculpture, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Matt Moulthrop continues a legacy of innovation in woodturning, advancing techniques developed by his grandfather and father, artists Ed and Philip Moulthrop. In partnership with Auburn University, Moulthrop turned this bowl from the sizeable forked section of the Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Do you notice the dramatic patterns from where the limbs intersected? He often works with trees that have a meaningful association in people’s minds or unique value to a community.

What significance does Toomer’s Corner hold for you? Does the work of art or woodturning process capture it in some way? What kind of item might you transform into art to preserve a memory or convey a story? Its history?

Auburn Oak Bowl, 2014
Turned wood (Live oak)
Ca. 15 x 26 ½ x 26 ½ inches
Gift of the artist, 2014

“Each tree has a story to tell. Wormholes convey past life, rings communicate growth and certain colors tell the story of death by lightning or blight. My job is to tell the story…lengthening the life of the tree rather than ending it.”

Matt Moulthrop
Student worker Jean Gannett poses with one-half of "Self-Portrait as Bathers."

Behind-the-Scenes: Jean Gannett

By Building Community, K-12 Education, News, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Jean Gannett is one of our student staffers. She assists with all aspects of education programming, which includes prototyping art projects and working with K12, family, and community outreach groups. She also serves as a face of the museum by greeting visitors at the front desk. 

Student worker Jean Gannett poses with one-half of "Self-Portrait as Bathers."

My time here at Jule Collins has been such an amazing experience. Most days it doesn’t even feel like a job. The staff are all nothing but kind and welcoming, especially the people I work with the most, the wonderful ladies in the education department.

I have learned a variety of real-world and industry skills that I will carry with me to my next job, as well as really interesting behind-the-scenes museum things, like how they wash the bunny men! Other things that really impacted me working here have been the opportunity to truly learn about and connect with Auburn’s community, create real change in people’s lives, as well as spread the joy of art with others. I would not trade this experience for the world.

A Legacy of Support Continues

By Supporting Auburn No Comments

For Dr. Ralph B. Draughon Jr. ’58, supporting Auburn in both words and deeds is truly a proud family tradition. As a 10-year-old, a Sunday dinner conversation with someone like Dr. George Petrie at his childhood home—the President’s House—made a lasting impression on Draughon. “At a time when children were to be seen and not heard,” said Draughon. “Dr. Petrie asked me what I was reading, and I told him I was struggling with Sherlock Holmes. He shared that The Hound of the Baskervilles was his favorite.”

Draughon explained Petrie is widely known for penning The Auburn Creed and bringing football to town; but, he was also credited with inspiring many students to become historians, at what was then an agricultural and mechanicalinstitute. Draughon said in that moment, he too experienced Petrie’s charisma and was deeply affected by the fact that this well-known figure took a serious interest in him and did not just comment on how much he’d grown, like other adults. Draughon went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts in history at Auburn and doctorate in southern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

ABOVE: Dr. Ralph B. Draughon, Jr. poses with a photograph of Dr. George Petrie at Ralph B. Draughon Library.
ABOVE: Frank Applebee, founding chair of the art department, captured this view of Auburn’s campus near Samford Hall, ca. 1930–40, around the same time Dr. Draughon, Sr. began teaching at Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

Draughon experienced much of Auburn’s history during his time as a son and a student; in fact, one could say, he wrote the book. He is the co-author of “Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs,” whose first publication of 20,000 copies with NewSouth Books sold out. He serves on the Alabama Historical Commission Board and is a member of the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. He taught at the University of Georgia, established a research center at the birthplace of Robert E. Lee, Stratford Hall, served as curator at the Historic New Orleans Collection, and acted as historical advisor to a major national archaeological firm.

He has also written about and lectured on another name known to the Auburn Family and the football faithful—Coach John Heisman. In his research, he highlights not stats but Shakespeare, as Heisman was a professional actor. “He organized the first dramatic group on the Auburn campus, the A.P.I. Dramatic Club,” he said. “The excuse was to raise money to pay off the football team. He produced shows in Opelika and in Auburn above Toomer’s Corner.”

Draughon has said in previous interviews that he found documentation of Heisman’s dramatic side in a scrapbook belonging to the wife of a chemistry professor. “In my own research, I delight in manuscripts of long ago, particularly personal letters,” said Draughon. “I want students of tomorrow to discover how captivating old letters and documents can be. They bring the past alive.”

Through an estate gift, Draughon is supporting both the Auburn University Libraries and JCSM. The museum will use these funds long into the future to further develop its collection of paintings, prints, and pottery related to Alabama and the southern part of the United States. “I just don’t want students and general public to neglect the artists who are working here,” he said. “It is gratifying that, for example, potters who were ignored for years and are now very collectible. Self-taught artists are appreciated.”

Draughon, who is also a donor to the museum’s annual 1072 Society, said that he would like for the museum to have a strong southern collection and that he was pleased that the university has a place to exhibit art connected to Auburn and Alabama. He said he also hoped the collection could one day include works by artists featured in major museums, noting the significant support required to develop such a collection.

The senior Draughon also played a role in collection building, as his son said he was instrumental in the acquisition of JCSM’s first collection. “My father was very proud of his association with Advancing American Art. He read the federal catalogue and always thought it was not only an important acquisition for Auburn, but a feather in his cap,” he said. “His office negotiated the sale with federal officials.” The acquisition records were among his father’s papers that he donated to the Ralph B. Draughon Libraries.

“My father struggled for years to have a first-rate library—one, he joked, that the football team could be proud of. I think he would agree today that the museum is also such a source of pride.”

Draughon supports JCSM because he feels the museum is an important element for the educational experience. “The museum has an important place in the university’s present and future. It’s very meaningful to be a part of that for me. It’s such a classy outfit, for one thing, and it’s so nice that the University of Alabama doesn’t have one!”

Spoken like someone who truly believes in Auburn, and loves it.

"The museum has an important place in the university's past and future. It is very meaningful to be a part of that for me."

Ralph B. Draughon, Jr. Museum donor

Last call to view the 1072 Society Exhibition, but not to donate!

By Art, Building Community, News, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Though the exhibition is closing on Sunday, January 24, there is still time for charitable giving! You may make your charitable gift towards the 1072 Society Class of 2016 through January 31. This year focuses on photography and features historic, traditional, and contemporary examples of that diverse medium.

Make your charitable donation online or by calling Cindy Cox at 334.844.3005.

The 1072 Society is composed of friends of the museum who contribute funds annually for the express purpose of acquiring new art for JCSM’s permanent collection. Each year we assemble and exhibit a selection of art for consideration of purchase with funds generated by this group, so-named in honor of the dollar amount paid in 1948 for 36 modernist paintings to establish a university collection. Today, 1072 Society donors carry forward that initial vision to collect significant art at Auburn.

William Christenberry (American, b. 1936), Red Building in Forest, Hale County, Alabama, 1994, Edition: 25, Archival pigment print, Signed in ink on verso, Courtesy of Jackson Fine Art

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908–2004), Sunday on the Banks of the River Marne, 1938, Gelatin silver print, Courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery

Tiger Giving Day: Help bring art by an Auburn alumnus home!

By Art, Art Experiences, Building Community, News, Supporting Auburn No Comments

On Tuesday, December 1, JCSM will participate in a 24-hour fundraising event, Tiger Giving Day. This campaign is the Auburn University Foundation’s response to Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy.

JCSM’s project involves a special connection to campus. We are seeking funds towards the purchase of Elektro Licht Kraft by Robert A. Schaefer Jr. ’75. He credits his elective photography course at Auburn as one of the transformational moments that made him the artist he is today. Our hope is with the addition of this work and other photographs to the collection this year, JCSM can provide the same kind of “Art changes lives!” moment to the next generation of alumni.

There is tremendous power in every gift—great and small. Whether you contribute at the society level of $1,072 or as a part of this 24-hour online giving campaign, your support increases the number of meaningful acquisitions we can add to the collection.

The piece is part of the 1072 Society Exhibition, available to view now!


To donate on December 1 > Tiger Giving Day

This is Dakota. Watch his story below and meet the artist, Robert.

Dakota is the senior photographer for The Auburn Plainsman and the photo lab manager at Biggin Hall. Robert is a photographer and instructor at New York University and the Penumbra Foundation in New York, New York. Both are proud of their Auburn experience.

JCSM reaches out to local schools

By Building Community, K-12 Education, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Yesterday was a bittersweet day.

Outreach is a critical part of the mission at JCSM. This year, I’ve been able to spend two Thursdays a month teaching at South Smiths Station Elementary school. SSES does not currently have an art teacher, but teachers and administrators there sought out our support. Last year during a tour at JCSM, fourth grade teacher Evelyn Baldwin asked me if I could provide art lessons for the students. I was thrilled to have the chance to be in a classroom, and explore art making with excited young students.

And what a great year it was! We made travel posters for the regions of Alabama (making connections to geography), musical instruments and rockets (using science and math skills), paper mache animals, prints, still-life drawing, and even had art history discussions. The hard work of the students was matched by their enthusiasm. While most of my mornings are fueled by coffee, the bright faces of eager learners helped wake me up, and kept me going throughout the day.

Yesterday was my last day traveling to SSES, which made me sad. But the many kind words of thanks, and a substantial number of candy bars certainly made the end of the year easier to handle. I want to express my deepest thanks to Mrs. Duke, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Evans, and Mrs. Baldwin for allowing me to work with their students, and for their constant encouragement. Of course this would not have been possible without the support from Principal Smith and Assistant Superintendent Hunter at Lee County Schools. Their dedication and commitment to the arts in elementary education is deep, and deeply appreciated.

I also want to thank all of the students that were such a joy to work with. It was your hard work that made your art look so wonderful. I know that you’ll keep practicing your art, and making wonderful, creative, inventive new things!

JCSM continues to work to support local schools that need help with art education. And there are things that you can do to help.

First, be sure you voice your support of art education to your representatives at every level of government. Support your local school board as they work to find the budget to hire art and music teachers. Through Parent-Teacher organizations, fundraisers for art supplies, and other events at local schools, you can help ensure that every school has a full-time art educator.

Second, if you want to directly support JCSM’s outreach to schools, contact our development office online, or by calling 334-844-1675.

Museum outreach efforts demonstrate the value of art education in a very real way, helping teachers and parents make the case to school administrators and state legislators that art teachers are needed in every building. Please consider helping us continue this important work.

Museum Joins in Auburn University’s Comprehensive Campaign

By News, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Launched publicly during A-Day weekend, Because This is Auburn is a $1 billion dollar campaign to propel our university forward through a renewed commitment to our students, a continued promise to our state, and a shared responsibility to the world. We know that there is tremendous power in every gift and within everyone who supports our cause. As a result of this campaign, we envision a bright future for Auburn University and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, and only through your investment can we make it a reality. We know it is up to us. Why do we know we will succeed? Why do we believe that our family will rise to the occasion? Because This is Auburn.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It; See for Yourself During Spring Membership Drive

By Supporting Auburn No Comments

Membership_Week-Profile_Picture-version1-2The staff members of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art are a dedicated group of artists, photographers, historians, curators, designers, and writers who all believe art changes lives. Beyond the “9 to 5,” we recognize that JCSM is a charitable, nonprofit organization that enhances life-long learning and community enhancement. 

For the spring membership drive March 25-28, these staff members wanted to share why they support Auburn’s art museum and what they enjoy. If you join during these dates, you can take 10% off your membership and get an “Art Changes Lives” t-shirt (while supplies last).

henley_portraitAndrew Henley
Online student member, doctoral candidate, curator of education 

I joined to show support for the museum and join the more than 600 other online student members. As a part of the campus opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, JCSM is one of the wide variety of resources that makes the university experience rich.

My favorite artist in the collection is José Bedia and E incontrolable será (It will be uncontrollable), 2007My favorite program is split between art clubs, which are a great time for me, as I get to teach and make art with students, and the docent-training program, since it’s fun to see adults find the same joy in the visual arts as children.

hendrix_smallCharlotte Hendrix 
Family/dual member, marketing and communications specialist 

I grew up in Auburn, but attended college out of state. At the time, there wasn’t an art museum here. I remember my mom telling me the university was building one, and upon hearing this, how I wished there had been something like that when I was a kid. When I moved back to the area from Washington, DC, I was overjoyed to join the museum staff.

There are exhibitions on view that one would expect in major cities, right here in my hometown. One of my favorite programs is the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers (SCTIF). I regularly attended independent filmmaking screenings and panels in DC. The SCTIF films are always amazing and the guest filmmakers insightful. My favorite exhibition (as of now!) is Out of the Box: An Outdoor Juried Sculpture Exhibition. The sculptures add so much to the already spectacular museum grounds.

scott_portraitScott Bishop 
Sustaining member, and curator of education/university liaison

I really do believe in JCSM’s mission: art changes lives. I am lucky to have this job that allows me to meet new and interesting people and gives me reasons to stay connected to those I know on campus, all in the name of making Auburn University more culturally rich. My membership is a symbol of my commitment to our goals.

My favorite work of art? That’s a hard question. I curate the Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Collection, so my familiarity with and the research I have done on it makes me have a deep appreciation. I am especially fond of the Audubon Robin print.  I am very fond of Peter Graham (Scottish, 1836–1921) Highland Cattle in a Stormy Landscape, 1886 and JamesPeale (American, 1749–1831) Still Life with Watermelon and Peaches, ca. 1820, in the permanent collection. I also think quite often about a piece we showed in an Auburn Collectsexhibition of the Dr. Ed Hayes’ collection called About to Change His Tune, by Stephen James Ferris (American, 1835–1915). But these are just ones that come to mind right now.

One of my favorite programs to date is FILM@JCSM, a program that draws on the talents of Auburn faculty. Led by Dr. Sunny Stalter Pace, the faculty members choose a series of films that relate to one of our exhibitions and invite members from our own faculty or scholars form elsewhere to introduce the films and lead discussion. I love it that the people involved in that program feel ownership of the museum, and they bring smart, interesting voices into our programs.

JCSM’s lunch time music programs are popular, and we’ve carried that over into our expanded Thursday evening hours with live jazz from 6 to 8 pm with tapas and cocktail menus from 5 to 8 pm.

cindyCindy Cox, sustaining member, membership officer

Growing up, my parents always took us to the museums in downtown Chicago. I was so fortunate to be exposed to the different cultures through art. I believe that art begins the conversation of learning about different cultures for children. I joined because I want to continue the conversation of experiencing different cultures and eras. JCSM is truly spectacular, and I love being a part of it!

My favorite collection is Advancing American Art. I love the story behind the acquisition of this collection in 1948. I love that the AU Art department head Frank Applebee felt so strongly about this great collection that he rallied the university and department into acquiring 36 works for $1,072! Today, we pay tribute to this initial purchase with the 1072 Society. Community and alumni efforts through 1072 Society have resulted in 18 new pieces of artwork that enhance our teaching capabilities.

You can enjoy film, music, and art history discussions during our membership drive programming, as well as see what’s currently on view.

Drop by during our membership social on Wednesday, March 26 from 5 to 7 pm and enjoy BBQ sliders, pimento cheese crostini, sweets table, and much more from Ursula’s Catering. Cash bar available for those 21 and above with valid I.D. 

Out on the terrace, Scooter McGavin band will present their special sound of Folky-Americana-Funky-Rock. Help us with headcounts by RSVP’ing below. This event is free and open to the public. Gallery admission is free courtesy of JCSM Business Partners.

Auburn Faculty Pianist Brings Mozart and the 20th Century to “Lunch Music”

By Art Experiences, Music, Supporting Auburn No Comments

PIferAddressingOn February 27 from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery, A Little Lunch Music welcomes pianist Josh Pifer. The originally scheduled program featured flutist Elizabeth Goode with Dr. Pifer. That has changed due to unforeseen circumstances. Instead, Dr. Pifer will perform solo pieces by W. A. Mozart (the “Twinkle Twinkle” variations), Dmitri Kabalevsky, Nikolai Medtner, John Corigliano, and Astor Piazzolla. Nick and Carolyn Davis are sponsoring this week’s free concert.

The last time Dr. Pifer performed for the series, he had just begun his stint as Piano Lecturer in the Auburn University Music Department. He opened 2011’s fall season with a program that included colorful and wonderful pieces, some by under-performed 20th-century composers.

This time around, Dr. Pifer will deliver similarly. Mozart and Piazzolla have appeared on the series before, but I’m pretty sure Kabalevsky and Medtner have not, and I’m almost positive we’ve not heard anything from still-living composer John Corigliano. I love hearing new music.

We will look toward rescheduling Dr. Goode, whose reputation precedes her. As it stands, however, Thursday’s program promises to be a great one.

A musician himself, Patrick McCurry coordinates A Little Lunch Music and occasionally performs for it. He blogs about the arts in our community.

Turn-of-the-Century Immigrant Life Studied and Re-examined

By Art, Collection Loan, Supporting Auburn No Comments

Jerome_Myers-blogJule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University will present a select group of paintings and works on paper in Jerome Myers: Raising Hope in the New World from February 8 through May 4, 2014. Myers’ career spans the late 19th and first half of the 20th kentury, and he is considered a peer of urban realists such as Robert Henri, John Sloan, and George Luks. An illustrated publication with essays accompanies the exhibition.

Marilyn Laufer, museum director and curator of the exhibition, said that support from donors and museum colleagues prompted research and a re-evaluation of Myers at Auburn’s art museum, which includes work by the artist from JCSM’s permanent collection. “Some art historians view Myers’ work as overly romantic, but he painted the reality he saw on New York’s Lower East Side.”

Laufer said that Myers’ subjects were children and families dressed in their best clothing at the markets, on stoops, or at religious and cultural festivals. “During this same historical period, you find other genre paintings of people living in poverty and relying on street smarts to get by,” she said. “So much of the political and social climate of the progressive era was geared towards revealing the sad impoverished conditions of the tenements and the immigrants who lived there. But Myers painted that culture, focusing on the positive and hopefulness of that immigrant community which he believed was part of the melting pot he saw as modern America. A lot of the progressive rhetoric was how to ‘Americanize’ these new citizens, but Myers celebrated that difference.”

Laufer noted that the exhibition was timely given views and discussion of immigration today. “Myers’ empathy for his immigrant subjects went against what was the prevalent thought at the time,” she said. “He tried to capture people who hoped for fulfillment of the American Dream for their children.”

The museum offers special thanks to the late Helen Farr Sloan, widow of artist John Sloan; attorney Jerome K. Grossman; Katherine Degn and Carole Pesner of the Kraushaar Galleries; and, Myers’ grandson, Barry Downes. Lenders to the exhibition include the Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia; Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington; the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia, Athens; Arkansas Art Center, in Little Rock; and collector Samuel Rosenfeld.

Charitable, tax-deductible gifts in support of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art or other programs at Auburn are made through the Auburn University Foundation, which receives such gifts on the university’s behalf. Donors, alumni, and friends can make a philanthropic gift in support of the museum and future exhibitions.