Nashville’s Frist Center Presents “Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise”
July 29–November 6, 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 7, 2016)—Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise, the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Newcomb arts and crafts in more than a quarter century. Created and organized by the Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition is making the final stop of its nine-city tour at the Frist Center. The public opening on July 29 will be celebrated with a lecture by the distinguished Newcomb Pottery authority Sally Main, former senior curator at the Newcomb Art Museum, and a special Frist Friday concert of New Orleans music.
Newcomb pottery is one of the most significant of all American art potteries, critically acclaimed and highly coveted. With more than 180 works that span 45 years of production (1895–1940), Women, Art, and Social Change offers new insights into the Newcomb community’s enduring mark on American art and industry. The exhibition examines the role played by H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, Tulane University’s coordinate institution for women, in promoting art for the advancement of women and, in turn, New Orleans’ business and cultural communities, which were still struggling from the effects of the Civil War.
“Women, Art, and Social Change brings together a variety of objects created during the lifespan of the Newcomb enterprise,” explains Sally Main. “The finest examples of the pottery art form will be displayed alongside pieces that will come as a revelation to many—not only a rich variety of crafts but also photos and artifacts that breathe life into the Newcomb legacy.”
What began as an educational experiment flourished into a quasi-commercial venture that offered unprecedented opportunities for Southern women to support themselves financially during and after their training as artists. “When seen against the backdrop of social history, which this exhibition emphasizes, these beautiful works of art and the women who made them appear even more remarkable,” observes Frist Center curator Trinita Kennedy. The Frist Center’s presentation will include an educational component that demonstrates production techniques employed by Newcomb potters and decorators through a series of in-progress vessels made by Nashville ceramicists Danielle McDaniel, co-owner of the Clay Lady Studios, and Lyndy Rutledge.
Many works of the Newcomb Pottery enterprise were inspired by the native flora and fauna of the Gulf South, a distinctive hallmark that made them immediately recognizable and popular with collectors, curators and tastemakers across the country. This exhibition features iconic examples of the pottery, including a majestic daffodil motif vase by Harriet Coulter Joor recently acquired by the Newcomb Art Museum, and jewelry, such as the silver and moonstone necklace attributed to Mary Williams Butler, the head of Newcomb’s metalwork department, along with textiles, metalwork, bookbinding, works on paper, and other historical artifacts.
Friday, July 29
“Newcomb’s Designers: A Conscious Revolution” presented by Sally Main, independent curator
Frist Center Auditorium
First come, first seated
Sally Main, former senior curator at the Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, will deliver this lecture in connection with the exhibition Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. Newcomb Pottery, in operation from 1895 to 1940, represents an achievement unsurpassed by any other group of women artists in the United States. Conceived in the late nineteenth century as an educational experiment, the enterprise offered New Orleans women opportunities to better their lives by training them to create one-of-a-kind decorative objects that would generate meaningful financial compensation. The enterprise became a model industry within H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, the women’s branch of Tulane University.
During its forty-five years of existence, the enterprise provided full- or part-time employment to approximately ninety-five women, whose accomplishments are visible in the items they made. Their success is all the more remarkable given the climate of conflicting economic and ideological circumstances that confronted post-bellum women in the American South. Visit fristcenter.org to learn more about this lecture.
Friday, July 29
Frist Friday Concert The Revelers and Halfbrass
Frist Center Turner Courtyard
Not-yet-members $12 each; members free
Now in its fourteenth year, this exciting concert series takes place on the final Friday of each summer month, rain or shine! Patrons are invited to enjoy an evening of live music, light snacks, and beverages, as well as the diverse exhibitions on view in the Frist Center’s galleries.
The opening night of Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise will be celebrated with the sounds of South Louisiana. Hailing from Lafayette, the Revelers combine swamp pop, Cajun, country, and zydeco into an infectious medley of roots music. With founding members of the Red Stick Ramblers, the Pine Leaf Boys, and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, the Revelers are a veritable Louisiana supergroup. They were nominated in the Best Regional Roots category for the 58th GRAMMY® awards and also featured in the HBO series Treme.
Halfbrass is a New Orleans–influenced quintet that mixes traditional brass band music with funk, jazz, and rock. Formed in 2003, the Nashville-based group has led parties at backyard crawfish boils, weddings and other events, and has recorded with a number of national and local artists, including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Charlie Peacock.
Frist Fridays feature a special selection of economically priced snack food items in the Frist Center Café. The selections vary for each event and will include items like chicken wings, sliders, corn dogs, and soft pretzels, ranging in price from $2.50 to $4.50.
Supporting Sponsor: First Tennessee, Contributing Sponsor: Southwest Airlines
Friday, August 19
Art After Dark: Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise presented by Megan Robertson, Frist Center associate curator of interpretation
Meet at the exhibition entrance
Admission required; members free
but not required;
visit fristcenter.org/talk to register. Questions? Call 615.744.3355.
Enrich your Friday night. Join in an open-ended discussion in the galleries to heighten your appreciation and understanding of the visual arts by exploring one work of art in depth. The chosen object changes every session, making each Art After Dark a new experience. Space is limited to 15 participants to encourage interaction.
Saturday, September 24
Seminar: “An Introduction to Collecting Arts and Crafts Pottery” presented by Sarah Campbell Drury, vice president of fine and decorative arts, Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals
10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Frist Center Rechter Room $30 members; $40 not-yet-members
(boxed lunch and gallery admission included)
Registration required by September 19;
space is limited. Visit fristcenter.org to reserve your place.
Interested in starting your own ceramics collection? Join us for a collector’s seminar inspired by the exhibition Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise, led by decorative arts and appraisal expert Sarah Campbell Drury. Participants will learn about hallmarks of Arts and Crafts studio pottery and how to identify markers of authenticity and artistic quality through a curator-led tour of the exhibition, a lecture, and a hands-on appraisal demonstration.
Seminar participants will also have the option of taking an exclusive tour of the Tennessee Craft Ceramics Fair on Sunday, September 25, with Teri Alea, executive director of Tennessee Craft, and Susan DeMay, a working artist who teaches at Vanderbilt University. On the tour, Alea and DeMay will provide information on collecting contemporary ceramics and introduce participants to artists working in different styles.
Thursday, September 29
Curator’s Tour Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise presented by Trinita Kennedy, Frist Center curator
Meet at the exhibition entrance
Gallery admission required; members free
Join Trinita Kennedy as she explores the largest presentation of Newcomb arts and crafts in more than twenty-five years and offers new insights into the Newcomb community’s enduring mark on American art and industry. Women, Art, and Social Change is on view in the Upper-Level Galleries from July 29 through November 6.
Friday, October 14, through Sunday, October 16
“Designing a Clay Surface: Exploring Newcomb Pottery” with Audry Deal-McEver and Kelly Kessler in partnership with The Clay Lady’s Campus
Three-day studio workshop: Friday, October 14: 6:00–8:00 p.m. at the Frist Center
Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. at The Clay Lady’s Campus
$100 members; $125 not-yet-members (all basic art materials included). All skill levels welcome. Bring your own lunches. Registration required by October 7. Visit fristcenter.org/studio to reserve your space.
Spend a creative weekend with teaching artists Audry Deal-McEver and Kelly Kessler, who will guide you through the process of surface design on clay, inspired by art deco motifs seen throughout Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. On Friday evening, take part in a unique exhibition sketching tour led by Frist Center curator Trinita Kennedy and the teaching artists. On Saturday and Sunday, at The Clay Lady’s Campus, focus on transferring your designs onto clay through techniques such as sgraffito, shellac resist, and different types of carving (including low relief), as well as adding color to your final artwork.
Nashville native Audry Deal-McEver has been an artist in residence at Die Burg Giebichenstein Hochschule für Kunst und Design (School of Art and Design) in Halle, Germany; at the Mary Anderson Center artist colony in Mount St. Francis, Indiana; at Hot Springs National Park, in Arkansas; and at the University of Alaska. Her work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions at a diverse range of venues, from the American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Reece Museum of Fine Art to the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum, the Nashville International Airport, and various nature centers and botanical conservatories across America. She received her degree in ceramic studio arts from Ohio University. Currently Audry is an art faculty member at Ensworth High School in Nashville.
Kelly Kessler has a degree from Berea College, and has extended her studies at the University of Minnesota, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Peters Valley School of Craft, and Shakerag Workshops. Kelly has exhibited her work at the Appalachian Center for Craft, Craft Alliance, and Lillstreet Gallery. As a teaching potter, Kelly has taught ceramics at Columbia College, Lillstreet Studios, and Watkins College of Art, Design and Film, and is currently an artist in residence at Vanderbilt University’s Sarratt Art Studios in Nashville.
Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise, an exhibition created and organized by Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), was made possible in part through the generous support of Henry Luce Foundation and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.
The audio tour for this exhibition was created by The Wolfsonian–Florida International University, Miami Beach. Belmont University and Ocean Way Recording Studios donated recording time and professional expertise to adapt the tour for Frist Center visitors.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for nearly 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at http://www.sites.si.edu.
The exhibition is supported by grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of our Picasso Circle members as exhibition patrons.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
High-Resolution Images Available
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About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Center offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Information on accessibility may be found at fristcenter.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and to members; $12 for adults; $9 for seniors and college students with ID; and $7 for active military. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5:00–9:00 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservations by calling 615.744.3247. The galleries, Café, and Gift Shop are open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00–5:30 p.m., with the Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling 615.244.3340 or by visiting fristcenter.org.
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