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Fall Arts 2020 - Visual Arts

An update on the status of the Visual Arts venues in the Atlanta metro area.

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Photo credit: Collection of the artist. © Bryan Collier
HIGH MUSEUM: Bryan Collier (American, born 1967), illustration for ‘All Because You Matter’ by Tami Charles (Scholastic, 2020), from ‘Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Children’s Books.’ Collection of the artist. © Bryan Collier

Atlanta Contemporary

Veronica Kessenich

Executive Director

Since temporarily closing its doors to the public on March 13, Atlanta Contemporary has presented more than 75 virtual programs including Contemporary Talks, Contemporary Kids, Friday Art Making Pop-Ups, Home Is Where the Art Is, DJ Spotify Playlists, and promoting specialty cocktails through its Mixologist-in-Residence program.

Atlanta Contemporary has made significant upgrades to its HVAC system, which incorporates “bi-polar ionization technology” to generate electrically charged particles with extra electrons, thereby rendering the particles harmlessly inert. “This technology works on viruses and bacteria in the air stream,” says executive director Veronica Kessenich.

On July 7, Atlanta Contemporary reopened to the public with timed tickets and limited entry. Check the museum website for details.

· Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

· Masks required

Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Michael David Murphy

Digital Director

“The ACP Festival will be happening in October,” says digital director Michael Murphy. “We will be encouraging digital events and appointment-only exhibitions. No gatherings.” In mid-September, ACP will release a digital Festival Guide.

David J. Sencer CDC Museum

Louise Shaw

Museum Curator

The David J. Sencer CDC Museum closed to the public on March 20, 2020. Online exhibits can be accessed by visiting The CDC Museum’s most recently installed exhibition, Influenza: Complex Virus/Complex History, is as timely as it gets Although a date has not yet been confirmed, once the museum is cleared for opening, the exhibition will be on display through May 2021.

Influenza: Complex Virus/Complex History traces the global impact of influenza viruses since the 1918 pandemic. Influenza viruses are biologically and historically unique. Small changes in their genes occur frequently. Abrupt major changes are less common but can have devastating impact. In modern times, recurring influenza outbreaks have prompted virologists, medical professionals, and public health workers to search for ways to prevent influenza transmission and reduce the effects of influenza infections.

· Hours (with or without access restrictions): 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday except Thursday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

· Until further notice, the museum is closed to the public and all tours are canceled per CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and the elimination of large gatherings.

· Masks required

Fernbank Museum

Jennifer Grant Warren

President and CEO

Fernbank Museum closed its doors on Sunday, March 15. During the closure, “Museum at Home” provided programming and educational content on the museum’s website and social media platforms at no charge. “ATL Museums at Home” included Field Trip Fridays during which participants visited virtual destinations, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Atlanta History Center, the Breman Museum, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Zoo Atlanta.

Fernbank reopened to members on Monday, June 1, and to the general public three days later. On October 3, 2020, the museum will debut “Amazing Animals: Built to Survive.” This exhibit allows guests to discover the marvels of natural engineering and see how humans draw inspiration from innovations of evolution. Highly interactive and specimen-rich, this timely, hands-on exhibition brings the amazing science of biomechanics to life.

Fernbank’s current special exhibit, “Our Senses: An Immersive Experience,” has been extended until August 16, 2020. The museum’s 3D Giant Screen Theater is currently closed, but reopening plans are in the works.

· Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with hourly entry times (10, 11, 12, etc.). On weekends (Friday and Saturday), special night-time hours from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

· Online ticket purchases and timed tickets only, reserved in advance on a first come-first served basis. Online fees have been eliminated. No walk-up tickets.

· Masks are recommended for guests ages two and older. Strollers should be left at home to ensure the elevator is available for guests with physical needs.

· Other health and safety measures include one-way paths (where appropriate), 19 hand sanitation stations, grab-and-go concessions from the cafe, and contactless store purchases. Transactions within the museum are cashless; bring a credit or debit card.

· Some large events have been canceled including Fernbank After Dark. See Calendar of Events for the latest updates.

Anne Weems


“We were supposed to have an opening on March 13,” says Anne Weems, director of the Hathaway Gallery. “We never have openings on Fridays, but we were coordinating an opening with Sandler Hudson. I remember saying a year before, ‘It will be Friday the 13th.’ It was the first opening cancellation in four years. We haven’t been fully open since.”

In June, Hathaway initiated a “by appointment only” policy. The gallery has hosted online exhibitions, but Weems has spent most of her time personally reaching out to clients, bringing work to offices and homes for consideration.

“We had a day planned on July 11 where people could come talk to and meet Scott Ingram and Drew Conrad while viewing their exhibitions,” says Weems. “It got canceled because of the new City of Atlanta restrictions. The next day the restrictions were lifted, again, so that was frustrating.”

Scheduled for September is an exhibition with limited hours of works by Craig Drennen, followed in November by the opening of an exhibition by Pam Longobardi. Periodically, Hathaway will continue to offer virtual exhibitions.

“I hope it won’t be this way forever,” Weems says. “We saw an increase in sales last month (June), but it stopped when the protests began around the country. Now, things seem to be coming back again.”

· Hours: By appointment until September, then limited hours

· Masks recommended

High Museum of Art

Rand Suffolk


“At this point, I wouldn’t throw every long-range strategic objective out the window,” says High Museum director Rand Suffolk. “Vision is still imperative. However, it would be naïve not to acknowledge that the next two years will probably be anything but ‘normal.’ There’s simply too much that is unknown, uncontrollable, and uncertain. If it wasn’t before, and regardless of mission, adaptability must now become a core competency.”

The High Museum closed on March 12. Since then, Atlanta’s preeminent arts institution has engaged with visitors through virtual programming including the AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, which features Q&A videos with curators and museum staff, as well as art-making activities for children, video tours of galleries, and discussions with artists. See the High’s Stay Connected page for the latest offerings.

The High Museum re-opened to the general public July 18 with restrictions on visitor capacity and ticket sales, and with other health and safety measures in place. The current and upcoming fall exhibition schedule follows:

Paa Joe: Gates of No Return (through August 16)

Murmuration (through November 29)

Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Children’s Books (August 15 through November 8)

Dawoud Bey: An American Project (fall 2020 through winter 2021)

Julie Mehretu (October 23, 2020 through January 31, 2021)

Pioneers, Influencers, and Rising Voices: Women in the Collection (ongoing)

Shaheen Collection of French Works (ongoing; Permanent Collection Installation)

The Obama Portraits Tour (coming in 2022)

· Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, noon-5 p.m., closed Mondays

· Timed tickets required, purchased in advance online

· Masks required for guests over the age of two

Marcia Wood

Executive Director

Like most gallery operators, Marcia Wood closed her space in Castleberry Hill during the second week in March. Switching to a more robust online presence has fostered an ongoing video series, Postcards from a Pandemic, which can also be seen on Instagram IGTV. “Creating and sharing these brief check-ins with our artists during the pandemic has been rewarding, uplifting, and fun for everyone,” Wood says.

The exhibition 3 Sided Square, featuring Mery Lynn McCorkle, George Long, and Clark Derbes, was postponed by the coronavirus shutdown. It has been “penciled in” for late July or early August and will run through August and probably into September. “We will probably have an open house during the day,” Wood says, “and make use of our big outdoor terrace for social distanced visiting.”

· Hours: By appointment only

· Masks required

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA)

Annette Cone-Skelton


After closing its doors March 13, the staff at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) began assessing how to continue making the art of Georgia artists more accessible in a virtual setting. Their experience mirrors the response of many gallery owners, museum curators, and facility programmers.

“In a very short time, the staff learned new skills including video editing, 360 stitching, and how to livestream Zoom meetings,” says MOCA GA director Anne Cone-Skelton.

The scheduled exhibition, “Celebrating Georgia Artists of Hispanic/Latinx Origin,” was transformed into an online format. All images, artist statements, and resumes were posted online along with artist-submitted studio videos. MOCA GA then beefed up its presence on Instagram with related content including entries by Working Artist Project (WAP) Fellows and artists from the Georgia Artists of Hispanic/Latinx Origin exhibition.

Raw video from Working Artist Project artist talks and MOCA GA retrospectives was pulled from the server, reformatted, and edited for upload to the MOCA GA YouTube channel. The channel now features an introduction video by Cone-Skelton and images from years of WAP exhibitions. New, curated pages feature artist talks and oral histories and videos. Newly created trivia games, puzzles, and word games help virtual visitors maneuver the website. Virtual tours made with 360 technology allow visitors to “walk through” MOCA GA galleries.

In the fall, the MOCA GA WAP Series continues with the first of three exhibitions. The first one, featuring 2019/20 WAP Fellow William Downs, opens in September, followed by Ariel Dannielle in November, and Courtney McLellan at the end of January. The call for artists, jurying, and studio visits were virtually handled using an online site and Zoom for all studio visits. WAP winners for 20/21 — Davion Alston, Kelly Taylor Mitchell, and Erin Jane Nelson — were recently announced via live streaming.

MOCA GA is planning on reopening its doors in September with required masks, timed ticketing, and separate entrance and exit points to ensure directional flow. Hands-free soap and hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed, and all surfaces of the facility will be scrupulously cleaned to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

The museum’s HVAC system has been equipped with HEPA 99.99 percent-rated filters. Many of the changes prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as flex-work for staff, virtual exhibitions, and streaming artist talks, will continue indefinitely.

Says Cone-Skelton, “MOCA GA is embracing the new normal for the future.”

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

Laura Flusche

Executive Director

“When the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) closed to the public on March 13, the plan was to stay closed for two weeks,” says Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) executive director Laura Flusche. “When the severity of the pandemic became clear, within a week, we launched MODA Online, starting with children’s programming and quickly expanding into adult offerings.”

MODA’s Drink in Design series, which features designers and creatives from Atlanta and elsewhere, has attracted more than 1,000 attendees from 40 states and 18 countries. The campMODA program for youngsters will continue until the situation regarding school openings in Georgia shakes out.

Recently, MODA raised $20,000 for campMODA scholarships from individual donors, the OxBlue Foundation, the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs and DeKalb County. The funds sent (virtually speaking) 80 children to campMODA for free. A partnership between MODA and 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta and with DeKalb County facilitated distribution of the scholarships.

MODA’s first virtual exhibition, Learning from Nature: The Future of Design, should be online by the time the CL Fall Arts Preview hits the streets. Online visitors navigating the exhibition will learn how designers are discovering sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. MODA will also offer virtual field trips, lifelong learning opportunities, and other special programs related to the exhibition.

“Until we reopen, COVID-19 has inspired us to build online programming that reaches a broader audience,” says Flusche. “Going forward, we’ll incorporate online content into exhibitions to continue bringing design to people beyond Atlanta.”


Susan Bridges


After whitespace closed on March 16 in compliance with CDC recommendations, gallery owner Susan Bridges and assistant Emily Sorgenfrei worked from home to maintain an online presence by showcasing artists virtually on social media and adding viewing rooms on the gallery website.

Whitespace reopened June 27 with a new exhibition, Parallel, and a new set of guidelines for visitors. Curated by Teresa Bramlette Reeves, Parallel is on view in all three of the gallery’s spaces. The number of visitors in each space is limited and face masks are required. Hand sanitizer is provided, as well as masks for visitors who do not have one.

“We have an advantage over most other galleries because we have an open-air courtyard with a garden, which makes social distancing easy and pleasant,” says Bridges. “We are booked two years in advance. With COVID-19 forcing us to reschedule more, rather than fewer, exhibitions, we are faced with delaying artists who have worked really hard to prepare for forthcoming shows while, at the same time, knowing everything can change in a minutes notice.”

whitespace fall schedule:

Parallel curated by Teresa Bramlette Reeves

June 27 through September 5

An Imagined History by Whitney Stansell

Fed Up by Kim Truesdale

Methods of Embrace by Rachel K. Garceau

September 12 through October 17

Sandbagging (a field manual for care) by Stephanie Dowda DeMer

Dorothy O’Connor (title TBD)

October 23 through December 5

Amy Pleasant + Friends (title TBD)

December 12, 2020 through January 23, 2021

· Hours: Wednesday and Thursday by appointment only. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

· Masks required


Tom Zarrilli


After closing in March, during the month of June, 378 presented a novel alternative to the traditional art exhibition. Positive showcased the work of 19 artists in the windows and door panes of the gallery on Clifton Road. All of the work was created since the coronavirus pandemic began.

On July 25, 378 hosted a free mask pop-up event. Visitors to an outdoor station picked out a pattern from which a fabric mask was made. All masks were free. Masks for kids were sewn on-site. The event was hosted by artist and craftsperson Aileen Loy.

“Our current plan is to fully reopen the gallery space in August,” says 378 gallery director Tom Zarrilli. And the gallery does just that, August 8-29, with Resonance, its first indoor exhibition since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Public health safety and protocols drive the presentation: There will be no opening reception. The exhibition can be viewed during regular gallery hours, Fridays and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., or by appointment. Attendance is limited to six people at a time, and social distance of 6 feet between patrons inside the gallery and waiting in a queue outside is required. Masks are required without exception for anyone inside the gallery and/or waiting to enter. To schedule an appointment call or text 404 530 9277.

Resonance features work by the following eight artists: Susan Cipcic, Cynthia Farnell, Rachel Garceau, Emily Gomez, Deborah Heidel, Tim Hunter, Pandra Williams, and Shona Wilson. Originally scheduled to coincide with Earth Day 2020, the concept for community focuses on the resonance between viewers and the natural world. Exhibition organizer and director Pandra Williams envisions, “Auditory resonance is the sound produced by an object when it vibrates at the same rate as the sound waves from another object. Intensification and prolongation of sound, especially of a musical tone, is produced by sympathetic vibration. Emotional resonance is an elemental reaction to an external object, space, idea, or event. When resonance occurs with the viewer, the resonating feature has struck, created, a sympathetic vibration within the mind, our cognitive faculty, or the intuitive reactive centers of the gut, or heart.”

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film

Alexander Sachs

Executive Director

Back in March, the public run of two recently opened exhibitions, Derek Adams Exhibition: ‘Patrick Kelly, The Journey’ and Alaïa — Adrian: Masters of Cut, was interrupted when COVID-19 forced the closure of all SCAD facilities in Savannah and Atlanta. In July, the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film announced an extension of both exhibitions into the fall season.

Patrick Kelly, The Journey stems from Derrick Adams’ keen exploration into the archive of African-American fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–90) who was the first American admitted to the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter, the prestigious governing body of the French ready-to-wear industry. Included in the exhibition are abstract collages and sculptural works, which incorporate Kelly’s vintage clothing patterns, iconic fabrics, boldly colorful geometric forms and embellishments.

Masters of Cut offers sleek designs and sharply tailored garments by renowned designers Azzedine Alaïa (1935–2017) and Gilbert Adrian (1903–1959). The garments on display showcase Adrian’s sublimely tailored suits with their mitered stripes, playful seaming, and unusual appliqués paired with Alaïa’s designs, which envelope the wearer in contours that flatter and accentuate the female form. The head of costume design for MGM during the Golden Age of Hollywood, Adrian is best known for his work on The Wizard of Oz. Masters of Cut features Alaïa-designed gowns worn by contemporary fashion icons including Grace Jones.

At press time, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film is closed. Updates on when the museum will be open and guidelines pertaining to public access are available at the museum website.