Collecting art by African Americans with guest Curlee Raven Holton and collectors Larry and Brenda Thompson at University of Georgia

Shawnya Harris (middle) with Larry and Brenda Thompson

Learn about collecting art by African Americans

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will host a free talk on collecting works by African American artists with guest Curlee Raven Holton and collectors Larry and Brenda Thompson this Thursday, February 23, at 5:30 p.m. The lecture is in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition “Expanding Tradition: Selections from the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection,” on view through May 7. “Expanding Tradition” is the second exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art to show selections from the Thompsons’ collection.
Shawnya Harris, the museum’s Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art, will lead the discussion between Holton and the Thompsons. Holton is the executive director of the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a renowned painter and printmaker. Larry and Brenda Thompson are devoted collectors and strong partners of the museum.
The conversation will focus on the importance of partnerships between academic institutions and private collectors in nurturing and fostering an awareness of African American artists. The Thompsons will discuss the practice of collecting African American art relative to the rise of other collectors of the same material and related historical and contemporary challenges. Holton will also discuss the Driskell Center’s role in shaping future collectors through the workshops it organizes.
“I thought it would be great for the Thompsons not only to discuss their journey in collecting, but also to contextualize it within a much broader tradition of collecting works by African American artists,” said Harris. “The original exhibition from their collection, ‘Tradition Redefined,’ began with important connections to institutions such as the Driskell Center. So looking back at the impact of that exhibition and at what brought them to Georgia is a lesson not only about art, but also about the power of relationships.”

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