Arts & Humanities Campus News Society & Culture

Museum decorative arts patron receives Governor’s Award

GMOA Chesnut award-goup-h
From left: Karen Paty

Athens, Ga. – Linda Crowe Chesnut, citizen scholar and chair of the Decorative Arts Advisory Committee at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia, received the Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities.

The Governor’s Awards recognize individuals for their contributions to Georgia’s creative industry through innovative programs, community collaboration and long-term financial commitment to the arts in Georgia. Partners of the Governor’s Award include the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Humanities Council.

“These individuals and organizations contribute significantly to Georgia’s excellent quality of life,” said Gov. Nathan Deal on the 15 recipients of the award. “The arts contribute to state and local economic growth by providing a diversified and sustainable means for creating jobs and attracting revenue.”

Over the last 30 years, Chesnut has volunteered for the DeKalb County Historical Society, the Georgia Archives, the Georgia Trust and alumni groups from regional colleges and universities, among other organizations. Since 1980, Chesnut has participated in every statewide major exhibition of Georgia’s decorative arts, including those of the Atlanta Historical Society, the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Museum of Art, through loans, consultation and networking.

Chesnut has worked with the Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts, a research center housed at the Georgia Museum of Art and dedicated to the study of Georgia’s material culture. Her leadership has built a volunteer group and has helped propel the Green Center into the forefront of material culture studies in the region and the nation. She has also helped build the museum’s collection of Georgia decorative arts through her own gifts, including a rare Georgia sampler, and through soliciting and facilitating gifts from committee members and donors previously unconnected to the museum.

Also closely involved with the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Chesnut graduated from all three of MESDA’s Institutes for Southern Material Culture and went on to assist its staff in researching and documenting hundreds of Georgia objects. At the 2010 MESDA Conference on American Material Culture, Chesnut, along with professor Carol Crowe Carraco, presented research on the 1838 house at White Oak Plantation. They interpreted the house as a new style of American architecture synthesized indigenous and classical design in a way befitting the needs of a backcountry climate and culture.

As a result of Chesnut’s participation in the annual Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum for 26 years and her support of Georgia decorative arts, the Virginia institution has integrated Georgia art and scholarship in the regional and national canon. Thanks to Chesnut’s involvement, decorative arts made in Georgia will be included in a five-year landmark exhibition opening in 2014 at Colonial Williamsburg. The exhibition will serve as a summation of Southern decorative arts scholarship and collecting for the past 50 years. It will be the first inclusion of Georgia decorative arts in an exhibition of national status.

Chesnut was previously honored by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries for her volunteerism. Chesnut and her husband also restored two of Georgia’s earliest houses, in Dunwoody and in Wilkes County.

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 Arts 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.