Asheville Art Museum Wins Three SEMC Exhibition Awards
Asheville, NC—The Asheville Art Museum is pleased to announce it has received three 2022 Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) Exhibition Awards. This annual competition recognizes creativity, innovation, and leadership in Southeastern museums and provides benchmarks for regional exhibition efforts. The Asheville Art Museum was the sole museum to garner three exhibition awards in the 2022 competition.
According to Executive Director Pam Myers, “The Museum is fortunate to have a remarkably talented team that consistently does amazing work that engages our community and provides a public forum for learning and conversation. I cannot speak highly enough about their amazing stream of achievements this past year.”
Along with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Asheville Art Museum co-curated the collaborative exhibition A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary in Contemporary Art, which won the Gold Award in the Under $25,000 budget category. Olympics Suite: Artistic Tribute, Golden Hour, and Precious Medals was selected for the Bronze Award in the Under $25,000 budget category. Additionally, Modernist Design at Black Mountain College was chosen for the Bronze Award in the Over $25,000 budget category.
“Modernist Design at Black Mountain College was an exciting exhibition for the Museum with its unique holdings of furniture made by Mary “Molly” Gregory and architectural drawings from Lawrence Kocher,” says Whitney Richardson, associate curator. “With my training in architecture and design, it was especially appealing for me personally.”
A Bronze Award in the publications category was also awarded to the exhibition booklet for a A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary in Contemporary Arts. The booklet was designed by Tyra Maney (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians).
A Living Language featured more than 50 works of art in a variety of media by more than 30 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation artists. The exhibition highlighted the use of the written Cherokee language, a syllabary developed by Cherokee innovator Sequoyah (circa 1776–1843). Cherokee syllabary is frequently found in the work of Cherokee artists as a compositional element or the subject matter of the work itself. The exhibition is a small part of larger ongoing efforts around language awareness and preservation for Indigenous languages.
“For many visitors, exhibitions are the public face of museums, and effective planning, management of resources, research and interpretation, collections care, public programs, publications, and fundraising all contribute to the fulfillment of a museum’s mission,” according to SEMC officials. “Expectations and standards were exceptionally high for this year’s applicants. The SEMC Exhibition Competition received a record-breaking number of applications from a wide variety of museums across the Southeast United States.”
The SEMC Exhibition Competition recognizes exhibitions for overall excellence or for stretching the limits of content and design through innovation. Winning entries were well-designed exhibitions of merit with educational value and demonstrated, respectful treatment of objects. Recipients of the awards were judged by an appointed jury of museum professionals across the region who specialize in curatorial studies and exhibition design.
Support for Educational Programs and Exhibitions
Educational programs and exhibitions are supported in part by Art Bridges, Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, North Carolina Arts Council, Windgate Foundation, Midgard Foundation, Appleby Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Beattie Foundation, and the Chaddick Foundation.
A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary in Contemporary Art was organized by the Asheville Art Museum and Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and curated by Hilary Schroeder, assistant curator at the Asheville Art Museum, with assistance from curatorial consultant Joshua Adams (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians). Special thanks to S. Dakota Brown, education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and Alexis Meldrum, curatorial assistant at the Asheville Art Museum, for their support in the planning of this exhibition. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, and sponsored in part by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Kevin Click & April Liou in memory of Myron E. Click.
The exhibitions Golden Hour: Olympians Photographed by Walter Iooss Jr.; Artistic Tribute: Representation of the Athlete; and Precious Medals: Gold, Silver, Bronze were organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Whitney Richardson, associate curator.
Modernist Design at Black Mountain College was organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Whitney Richardson, associate curator. Support is provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Julia & Jim Peterson.