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Birmingham Fashion Week: Up Close and Personal

A quick stroll through the Museum’s Education Gallery and main entrances leaves everyone saying: “Wow!” “Cool!” “A sixth grader made that?!” Our Birmingham Fashion Week: Rising Design Star Challenge exhibition is filled with impressive, inventive, and flat-out cool designs from students

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Giving News Museum News

Donor Spotlight: Docents Drive The Bus Fund

Not only do the Museum docents provide more than 12,000 hours of service to the Museum annually, through leading tours, conducting research on the artworks and exhibitions, preparing their presentations, and attending trainings, but they are also committed to the educational mission of the institution in multiple ways. Docents are on the front lines of the Museum and they see firsthand the trends in visitor attendance and demographics. “As docents, we noticed a significant decline in student tours of the Museum,” explains Kay Hanlin, Master Docent and Chair of Docent Bus Fund Endowment Committee. “The economy’s downturn resulted in the reduction or elimination of funds for art-related programs, including field trips, in many of our local schools. While admission to our museum is free, transportation for students is not.” Realizing that high transportation costs were directly correlated to fewer tours, the BMA docent corps decided in 2011 to begin raising money for a bus fund endowment to defray the costs of bus transportation.

The Museum offers carefully-designed, curriculum-based tours for students that enhance learning and correspond to the Alabama Course of Study and the Core Curriculum. We know, however, that not all teachers and students can take advantage of these free educational field trips. The docents set an ambitious goal to help alleviate this growing problem. They agreed to raise $25,000 within three years to meet the endowment requirements. As 2013 drew to a close in December, the fund topped that amount – a full six months before the deadline. The funds came from docent donations, gifts in honor of docents, memorials to docents, and from donations for the book The First Fifty Years of the Birmingham Museum of Art by Margaret Livingston, a BMA board of director’s member and former docent. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the Museum will be able to provide 10 buses a year from the interest earned on this endowment. Additional interest from a similar endowment gift from Erica Liebelt will fund another 10 buses annually. “Our goal was to directly impact the lives of students by assisting with the cost of transportation and providing the opportunity to experience art on a close and personal level through docent-led tours,” says Hanlin. “We are now committed to continue to support and grow the endowment so that it will have an even broader impact in the years to come.”

Giving News Museum News

Remembering Caldwell Marks

Caldwell MarksCaldwell Marks was one of the BMA’s “three musketeers,” along with Henry Goodrich and Bill Spencer. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, they worked together to spearhead the campaign to raise more than $22 million for the expansion and renovation of the Museum, Caldwell, of course, contributing generously to the effort himself. He was a tireless advocate, engaged board member, and a trusted advisor to the Birmingham Museum of Art throughout his lifetime.

Mr. Marks’ support spanned the full range of giving, including donating to the annual fund, holding an upper level membership, helping the Museum acquire art, supporting the Museum Ball, and providing for the Museum in his estate plans. An active member of the European Art Society, he purchased a major painting for the Museum’s collection by the landscape master Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, in memory of his late wife Jeanne.

Sadly, Caldwell Marks passed away last year, and his loss is deeply felt within the Museum family. However, Mr. Marks provided for the BMA in his estate, and thanks to this planned gift, the Museum will work with his family to identify a significant work of art to acquire in his memory. Although he is no longer with us physically, his legacy and generosity will live on in our galleries and our hearts.

Please consider following in Caldwell Marks’ footsteps and remembering the BMA in your estate plans. Bequests can be for any purpose, ranging from unrestricted gifts to endowment funds or purchases of art. Let us work with you today to help identify the most appropriate designation for such an important contribution. For more information, contact Director of Development Kate Cleveland at 205.567.3561 or

Untitled (Man brushing teeth), Annie Pootoogook, 2006, Canadian Inuit (born 1969, Cape Dorset). Crayon and ink on paper. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Guy Kreusch, 119.2013.

A Glimpse into Inuit Life

By Emily Hanna, Ph.D., Curator, Arts of Africa and the Americas The drawings of Annie Pootoogook capture the small, ordinary moments that make up the routine of a day, such as this work depicting an unshaven man brushing his teeth.

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Recent Acquisitions

Yes Sir, That’s My Baby

Carl Paul Jennewein (American; born Germany, 1890–1978), Cupid and Gazelle, 1919. Cast by Priessmann, Bauer & Co. (Munich, Germany). Bronze with black patina, gilding, and polychrome. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by James Milton and Sallie R. Johnson. AFI25.2013

Carl Paul Jennewein (American; born Germany, 1890–1978), Cupid and Gazelle, 1919. Cast by Priessmann, Bauer & Co. (Munich, Germany). Bronze with black patina, gilding, and polychrome. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by James Milton and Sallie R. Johnson. AFI25.2013

By Graham Boettcher, Ph.D., The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art

Last fall, thanks to the generosity of James Milton and Sallie Johnson, the Museum acquired this exquisite and whimsical Art Deco bronze sculpture entitled Cupid and Gazelle, created in 1919 by the German-born American artist Carl Paul Jennewein. The sculpture, which celebrates the birth of the artist’s first child, Paolo, once belonged to Junius Spencer Morgan, III, grandson of the famed New York financier J. P. Morgan. In 1925, Jennewein created a companion piece entitled Cupid and Crane to celebrate the birth of his third child, Alessandro. This piece is one of thirteen known casts, and other examples can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The work is presently on view in the Museum’s Styslinger Gallery of American Art.

Corporate Spotlight

Sponsor Spotlight: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Terry KelloggBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Terry D. Kellogg, President and Chief Executive Officer

My Museum: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama aims to improve health and well-being throughout the state by investing in charitable organizations. How do you think your support of the arts improves well-being for the Birmingham community?

Terry Kellogg: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and The Caring Foundation support initiatives to improve the health, wellness, and education of Alabamians. Health and wellness is more than a healthy body; it’s a healthy mind and spirit, as well. The arts improve the way people feel and interact with the world around them. Supporting the Birmingham Museum of Art and the arts provides opportunities to further enrich the lives of Alabamians.

MM: What do you look for when choosing to invest in a charitable organization?

TK: There are many worthwhile charitable organizations in our communities statewide. We support organizations that positively impact health, wellness, and education throughout Alabama. We ensure that the organizations we support are fiscally responsible and well-managed. We look for organizations and initiatives that improve the lives of Alabamians and meet the mission of The Caring Foundation and our corporate giving goals.

MM: As the number one healthcare provider in the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is also a large employer. How do your philanthropic contributions to organizations like the Museum help you recruit and retain employees?

TK: We believe that employees want to work for a company that gives back to the community. And those who care about working for such an employer are more likely to care for the customers who the company serves. One of our Corporate Values is “Give Back to the Community.” We strive to utilize our corporate strengths and resources to positively impact the communities we serve. Giving back to the community is important to our employees. When employees feel good about their employer, they’re more loyal and dedicated to that employer and, most importantly, to their customers.

MM: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has been a longtime supporter of the Museum. Why do you choose to support our organization?

TK: Supporting the Birmingham Museum of Art is a significant way to impact the Birmingham community. By providing educational and cultural opportunities, the Birmingham Museum of Art improves the quality of life for Alabamians. Children who lack the opportunities to travel or experience other cultures and geography can do so through their experiences at the Museum. It provides a unique, multi-dimensional learning opportunity—including art, history, geography, religion, sociology—that cannot be replicated or experienced in quite the same way anywhere else. These factors contribute to elevating Birmingham, and making it a highly desirable city to live and work, attracting a strong workforce and new businesses to our state.

MM: What do you enjoy most about your partnership with the Museum?

TK: We enjoy knowing that our support is making a difference in the Birmingham area by providing not only a cultural experience, but a well-rounded educational one, as well. We also enjoy knowing that prospective businesses entertaining an expansion or move to the area will be positively influenced by a visit to the Museum.

Community News Museum News

Partners in Art: UAB and the BMA

By Joanna Wilson, BMA/UAB Curatorial Fellow

This January marked the opening of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s long anticipated Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts. With its striking architecture, state of-the-art lecture and studio spaces, and three beautiful galleries, this building signals the University’s deep commitment to supporting and fostering a vibrant art community in Birmingham. The AEIVA’s communal mission was highlighted by the organization of its inaugural exhibition, Material Evidence: Art in Search of Identity and Representation, which was the fruitful result of several collaborations. The BMA happily accepted UAB’s invitation to curate a contemporary show for the AEIVA with works drawn from Birmingham private collections; with more support from discerning collectors than we had space to include, Material Evidence was truly a community effort.

My involvement in the planning and execution of Material Evidence is the result of yet another successful collaboration. For the past four years the BMA has offered a competitive twelve-month curatorial fellowship that provides valuable, in-depth career training and experience to one UAB Art History graduate student each year. As the current UAB/BMA Curatorial Fellow, I was keen to contribute to this new joint endeavor. By offering me the opportunity to tackle as much curatorial responsibility for AEIVA’s collaborative inaugural exhibit as I was prepared to take on, the BMA was stating their faith in an existing partnership with UAB, as well as their commitment to expanding that partnership. I would never have been selected or prepared for BMA’s curatorial fellowship if not for the UAB Art History faculty and staff’s excellent instruction and commitment to my success. Similarly, I could never have met the challenges associated with a show like Material Evidence if not for the Museum providing me with an immersive learning environment where Museum-wide support and guidance supplied me with the tools necessary for this highly demanding and equally rewarding curatorial experience.

There were only a few months between the conception of what was an untitled project for UAB and the opening of Material Evidence. In those months I had the incredible opportunity to visit art collections all over the city, gaining inspiration from the wealth of great work I encountered, as well from the insights of each collector. One of the most challenging aspects of this project was taking the very long list of potential works available for the show and editing it to a checklist of forty cohesive pieces. There is an incredibly diverse array of contemporary art in Birmingham, and deciding how to convey some of that variety and range, while still communicating something meaningful and coherent, was an exercise in creative determination. In the end, the theme we chose to unite the exhibit was inspired by the very diversity that initially made the decision difficult. What better theme than the complex shades and variations of “Identity” to understand the diverse works coming from 33 artists, 14 countries, and 17 collections?

To see another collaboration between BMA and UAB, be sure to visit the upcoming exhibition at AEIVA, After “Sosaku Hanga”: Creativity and Modernity in Japanese Prints of the 1960s and 1970s (June 5–July 17, 2014), in conjunction with BMA’s Shin Hanga: Japanese Prints from the Early Twentieth Century, which will be on view outside of our Asian galleries.


Art Matters: A Changing “Target”

By Margaret Burnham, Objects Conservator Since its arrival on the grounds of the Museum, John Scott’s Target has enlivened the environment with its bright colors and fanciful shapes. In its position by the auditorium entrance, it naturally attracts viewers; however,

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