ALBANY — “Graven Images: The Tumultuous Life and Times of Augusta Savage, Harlem Renaissance Sculptor” will be the topic of discussion for the AMA Art Lovers Book Club at its first meeting of the new year.
The club meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Albany Museum of Art, 311 Meadowlark Drive. There is no cost to attend, and you do not have to be an AMA member to join in the discussion.
“‘Graven Images’ is a beautifully written biography that reads like a novel,” AMA Director of Education and Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. “It perfectly captures the amazing life of Augusta Savage, an artist, educator, mentor, activist and community leader, and reflects her triumphs and tragedies as well as the complex emotions of her life.”
The biography looks at the life of Savage (1892-1962), an American sculptor and teacher who was associated with the Harlem Renaissance. A tireless worker for equal rights in the arts for African Americans, her studio influenced a generation of nationally famous artists.
With the help of grants and support from the African-American community she was able to study with sculptor Charles Despiau at Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Returning to the States in 1931, Savage, a native of Green Cove Spring, Fla., who worked mostly in clay and plaster, endured the economic setbacks of the Great Depression, which nearly halted art sales.
She opened her Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in a basement in Harlem to anyone who wanted to paint, sculpt or draw, attracting artists who would become nationally known. Her sculpture “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a professional commission for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, was the most popular work at the fair, though it was destroyed after the event because of a lack of funds to move it or cast it in bronze. 1939 also was the year of her last major show.
During the World War II era, Savage, frustrated with her financial struggles, moved to a farmhouse in Saugerties, N.Y., where she wrote children’s stories and taught children’s art classes. The locations of much of her work are unknown, but her most famous piece, a bust titled “Gamin,” is on permanent display in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Because of concerns for the health of our guests and staff, the AMA is following guidance from local, state and federal health officials in regard to activities conducted at the museum. Space is limited to a maximum of 10 participants at the book club meeting. Guests entering the AMA are asked to wear masks to protect others, and to allow at least 6 feet of space between them and anyone who is not in their party.
Interested persons are encouraged to email Vanoteghem at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot while enjoying the company of fellow book lovers in a safe environment. Interested persons may also contact Vanoteghem by calling her at (229)439-8400.
This is the penultimate club meeting of the club in Series 2, which concludes on March 16 with a discussion of “Loving Frank.” In that novel, Nancy Horan gives a fictionalized account of Mamah Borthwick’s love affair with architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright that is told from Borthwick’s perspective.
Club members at the March meeting also will share thoughts on books that will discussed in the third series, which is set to start May 18.
The AMA Art Lovers Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of May, July, September, November, January and March. Book lovers can attend as many or as few meetings as they want. There is no cost to attend, and participants do not have to be an AMA member to take part.
The latest information about the club is available at www.albanymuseum.com/book-club.
CURRENT AMA EXHIBITIONS
— “On the Wall:” murals by David Hale, Shanequa Gay, Amanda Jane Burk and Chris Johnson, and paintings by Sarah Emerson, is in the Haley Gallery through Feb. 20.
— “Midlands,” works by Courtney McClellan, is in the East Gallery through Feb. 20.
— “Escape Plan,” works by Elinor Saragoussi, is in the West Gallery through Feb. 20.
— Georgia Artists Guild of Albany 27th Annual Exhibition is in the McCormack Gallery.
The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, adjacent to Albany State University’s West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is free.
For more information about the AMA, visit the www.albanymuseum.com website or call (229) 439-8400.