The Kindnesses of Colleagues

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on December 3rd, 2008

In mid-November I had the pleasure of accompanying twenty-three Woodson Art Museum members on a six-day adventure in the South Carolina and Georgia Low Country. We focused on Charleston and Savannah and the surrounding areas with an emphasis on the arts in the broadest sense of the word, including not only the visual arts but also historic architecture, garden design and, most important, the culinary arts!

From my perspective, the trip comprised highlight after highlight (okay, this is hyperbole, but I feel it is more than justified). When I close my eyes and reflect on the experiences, I am most appreciative of the kindnesses of my colleagues who took time to greet, welcome, and visit with our group.

At Brookgreen Gardens, the extraordinary haven for American figurative sculpture located between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, President Bob Jewell welcomed us, and my friend Robin Salmon, Vice President of Sculpture, led a walking tour of the gardens and provided insightful history for many of the most important works, including Carl Milles’ Fountain of the Muses.

In Charleston, Gibbes Museum of Art director Angela Mack also welcomed the Woodson group prior to docent-led tours of Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art, which told the story of the beautiful coiled baskets made for generations by families in the southeastern United States. And in Savannah, senior educator at the Telfair Museum of Art, Harry DeLorme, met us at the Telfair’s fabulous new Jepson Center for the Arts, where he detailed the building’s design process and introduced the exhibitions we would see, including glassworks by William Morris, many of which had been presented at the Woodson in spring 2005 in Myth, Object, and the Animal.

While a visit to the Telfair, the Gibbes, or Brookgreen is exciting and inspiring in and of itself, an introduction by a key staff member or time spent with a knowledgeable docent can significantly heighten an experience. This was certainly the case during our recent Low Country adventure and I’m grateful.

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