Arts Society & Culture

Georgia Museum of Art to hold decorative arts symposium

Ronald Hurst GMOA symposium headshot-v
Ronald Hurst

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will host the seventh biennial Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

The theme of the symposium, “Connections: Georgia in the World,” focuses on the fact that the practice of decorative arts is not conducted in isolation. Georgia decorative arts reflect myriad connections to the region, the nation and the trans-Atlantic world.

Ronald L. Hurst, Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator and Vice President for Collections, Conservation and Museums at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, will deliver the keynote address Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. in Mahler Hall at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, where all symposium lectures will be held. Titled “Southern Furniture Studies: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going,” the keynote is free and open to the public thanks to the sponsorship of the Georgia Humanities Council.

Following the keynote address, shuttles will take guests to a museum reception from 7:30-9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Decorative arts exhibitions on view at the museum (opening Jan. 30) will include “Selections in the Decorative Arts,” a selection of new acquisitions and other prominent pieces in the museum’s collection, and “Rugs of the Caucasus,” a selection of several dated examples of Caucasian rugs from 1805 to the early 20th century. Co-curator James Verbrugge will be in the galleries during the opening reception.

Earlier that day from 1-4 p.m., some of Athens’ most historic properties will hold open houses: the Church-Waddel-Brumby House, the Taylor-Grady House, the T.R.R. Cobb House and the Ware-Lyndon House.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, leading scholars in their fields will speak on topics pertaining to Southern decorative arts, including earthenware, Gullah-Geechee decorative arts, Georgia fashion designer Frankie Welch (who created designs for several U.S. First Ladies), Georgia textiles in the mid-19th century, Hay House in Macon and silver. UGA students will also present original research on decorative arts.

“It is an exciting slate of speakers and will be up to the high standards set by previous events,” said Dale Couch, adjunct curator of decorative arts at the museum. “This year is particularly rich in chronological depth, spanning the earliest years in colonial settlement into late-20th-century design.”

“Homecoming: The 6th Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts,” the publication of the previous symposium’s papers, will be available for purchase for $30 at the symposium and in the museum gift shop.

The symposium is held every other year and is one of the best-attended decorative arts events on the East Coast. Approximately 280 people attended the 2012 symposium.

All evening events will be at the museum, with shuttle bus service from the Georgia Center. The full symposium package including supper on Jan. 31 is $250. Attendance at lectures only is $75. UGA students may attend for free but must register. The Georgia Center will handle all registrations and is offering a block of rooms at a discount for attendees. For more information about the symposium, including a full schedule of lectures and events, contact the Georgia Museum of Art at 706-542-4662 or see To register, see

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Art Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see or call 706-542-4662.