Wilhelmina Cole Holladay’s idea for NMWA’s State and International Committees evolved at the same time her concept for the museum itself evolved, and was, in fact, an integral part of her model for the museum’s structure. Georgia was one of the first states contacted (1985), and was one of the first to respond. Atlantans Jean Astrop, Eleanor Ridley, and the late Vee Adair and Ellie Atuk quickly put together a core of dedicated women from throughout the state, and within months a board was formed and the organizations first event was held.
Early highlights included the Georgia Committee’s 1996 critically acclaimed 9 Women in Georgia exhibition, Spearheaded by then Georgia Committee Chair Jean Fleming (1990-2000) and curated by Gudmund Vigtel, Director Emeritus of the High Museum of Art. After opening in Washington, DC at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibition traveled to Atlanta’s Swan Coach House Gallery for the duration of the Olympics. This exhibition was one of a series of NMWA exhibitions which featured the museum’s State and International committees. Artists featured included Beverly Buchanan, Annette Cone-Skelton, Katherine Mitchell, Carolyn Carr, Genevieve Arnold, Rocio Rodriguez, Susan Cofer, Cheryl Goldsleger and Mildred Thompson.
In 2002, under the Chair of Anna Henson (2002 – 2012), the Georgia Committee began its tradition of collaborative events with local museums and arts institutions – curatorial tours and lecture lunches featuring exhibitions by women artists. It established its flagship fundraiser, 3 2 C (Three to See) an annual fall tour of private art collections curated by Marianne Lambert. It also established its Acquisitions Project which raised funds in excess of $70,000 to sequentially place major works by Georgia women artists, selected by NMWA, into the museum’s permanent collection. Artists whose works have been gifted include Genevieve Arnold, Annette Cone-Skelton, Jiha Moon, and Nellie Mae Rowe.
Through the museum’s From the States and Women to Watch exhibition programs, the Georgia Committee has been able to showcase the works of rising Georgia women artists on an ongoing basis.
As with the museum, the GA Committee’s reach includes the performing as well as the visual arts. Bella Musica: A Concert of Women Composers from the 11th through the 20th centuries was a collaboration between the GA Committee and Agnes Scott College, Agnes Scott’s Dr. Calvert Johnson, Charles A Dana Professor of Music, Emeritus. The original 2008 performance was subsequently recorded by the college and is available through Agnes Scott and the GA Committee and NMWA as a beautiful 2-set CD.
In 2012, the Georgia Committee celebrated both its, and the museum’s, 25th Anniversaries with a Gala honoring its founders Jean Astrop and Eleanor Ridley at the Piedmont Driving Club.
Under the Chair of Lisa Cannon Taylor (2013 – present), the Georgia Committee is seeing the inauguration of its website, the continuation of 3 2 C, the kick-off of Collectors, Conversations + Cocktails, expansion of its collaborative events, and the addition of collector tours of private collections plus studio visits.
In 2015, Georgia Committee honored artists selected by Michael Rooks, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, High Museum with press, studio visits by the Committee. The five Georgia Artists for 2015 were Sarah Emerson, Jiha Moon, Megan Mosholder, Rocío Rodríguez and Elizabeth Turk (sculptor). Jiha Moon was selected by NMWA to take part in the Super Natural and Organic Matters, Women to Watch 2015 show in Washington, DC.
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Lisa Cannon Taylor
Kristen V. Cahill
Elizabeth Morgan Spiegel
Anna Stapleton Henson, Chair Emeritus
Eleanor Ridley, Chair Emeritus
Kenneth P. Dutter
Judith G. Taylor