The Old Jail Art Center celebrated its 35th year with stellar exhibitions, education programs, events, and physical growth. To top it all off, the Charles E. Jacobs Foundation has generously issued a challenge grant to ensure a completely successful 2016 year-end as well as a strong start for the upcoming year. Contributions to the museum’s 2016 Annual Fund received by December 31 will be matched up to $25,000. Please help us meet this challenge and double the impact of your gift! All gifts are welcomed and greatly appreciated. We’d love to add your name to our 2016 Annual Fund Roll of steadfast supporters.
EXHIBITIONS: Photographer Robert Langham’s exhibit Blackfork Bestiary began our exciting exhibition year with stunning black and white images of wild animals rescued near his studio in Tyler, Texas. Our summer exhibit Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection, including 127 original drawings from the late 19th century, pleased art and history lovers both with its historic significance and intrinsic artistic beauty. The Texas Moderns series, featuring artists active in the mid-twentieth century, continued this fall highlighting the works of Sallie Gillespie, Wade Jolly, Blanche McVeigh, and Evaline Sellors. Curated by OJAC friend Scott Barker, the exhibit explores the work of these individuals and the influence they had on artists associated with the Fort Worth Circle and Fort Worth’s present art culture.
With an emphasis on Texas artists, the Cell Series continues to gain recognition as an innovative and insightful means of presenting contemporary artists and their work. The freedom to conceive and create in the context of the 1877 structure’s space and historical context results in thought provoking and creative installations.
The Lonesome Dove exhibition and accompanying fundraising party were both a huge success. The exhibition of props, photographs, and scripts, along with gallery talks by cast and crew, presented visitors a behind-the-scenes look into the art of filmmaking. Several hundred party guests enjoyed unique food and drink thematically created for the event held under a clear Texas sky.
COLLECTIONS: The OJAC added 31 important works of art that enhance our Fort Worth Circle collection with bequeathed gifts from Larry Kleinschmidt. The museum purchased a significant work by Dallas contemporary artist Margaret Meehan from the summer Cell Series exhibition. Both exemplify the OJAC commitment to strengthen our existing collections and support living artists.
EDUCATION: Our school outreach program, Art-To-Go, served over 2,500 students in West Texas schools each month, while the teacher-acclaimed Distance Learning program reached 4,200 students in the U. S. and Canada. The OJAC Distance Learning was voted a “teacher favorite” of Texas art museum providers.
Our two focus lectures were well attended and well received. In June, during the Civil War exhibition, TCU professor and historian Steven Woodworth highlighted Texas’ participation in the Civil War. This fall, Andrew DeJesse, a Civil/Cultural Affairs Officer in the army, lectured on illicit trafficking of cultural objects and the military’s work in aiding unstable foreign countries to protect their own cultural heritage.
ARCHIVES: The museum dedicated a new building expansion for the Robert E. Nail, Jr. Archives, made possible by a generous donation given by Albany’s own Caldwell family. The new gallery, storage space, and reading room will secure the future of the collections and their accessibility for many, many years.
Generous memorials in memory of OJAC friend and board member Ardon Judd will make it possible to create an oral history project that will record the stories of individuals related to our regional and institutional history. The first interviews are being planned for 2017 with the ability to view and retrieve content by year-end.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: The OJAC published its first-ever permanent collection catalogue, highlighting the museum’s encyclopedic collection with insightful introductory essays. The OJAC also published Borderline Greatness—a monograph of the work of 2014 Cell Series artist Camp Bosworth—with a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Foundation. Our bi-annual newsletter won a Wilder Design Award through the Texas Association of Museums.
The OJAC added a Development and Marketing position, which will aid in increasing our membership and fundraising, as well as marketing the OJAC and its programs to a broader audience.
None of this would have been possible without your steadfast support. We thank you most sincerely. You—our members, patrons, and visitors—are our greatest asset.
Warmest greetings of the season to each of you,
The Board of Directors of the Old Jail Art Center