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Why 'Flora & Fauna: Drawings from The Columbus Museum's Collection' is a Must-See this Season

As The Columbus Museum continues to undergo a massive renovation, all of the Museum's exhibitions are on rotation with local partners across town. The latest is a collection of drawings presented in partnership with the W.C. Bradley Museum located at 1017 Front Ave.


But why should you go out of your way to see a collection of drawings that have been pulled from The Museum's vault? We spoke with Dr. Jonathan Walz, the Museum's Director of Curatorial Affairs, to learn why this particular exhibition has garnered attention for its presentation of a collection that rivals many others across the nation. Read on to discover why 'Flora & Fauna' is a must-see exhibition this season.





Q: It's my understanding there are a lot of guidelines and requirements when displaying drawings. Can you explain what some of these are and why exhibitions of this sort do not occur often?

A: Drawings are among the most fragile objects in museum collections. If you think about the difference between a metal sculpture and a charcoal sketch on paper, metal is more durable (imagine crumpling a sheet of paper versus crumpling a sheet of steel). Drawings are sensitive to light, which can discolor paper and fade colors over time. To ensure that drawings stay in their original condition and look fresh for the enjoyment of Museum visitors years from now, we rotate works on paper on view more frequently than paintings or sculpture, letting those off view “sleep.”


Q: This collection is from the Museum’s vault which at one time was known to hold one of the most extensive collections of drawings in the nation. Is that still the case? Can you explain this a bit for our audience?

A: The Columbus Museum has a remarkable collection of American drawings that we have been fortunate to acquire through gifts and purchase. We receive requests regularly to borrow drawings for major shows such Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature, which was organized by the High Museum and the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Our drawing collection includes works from the beginning of the country to today—over 200 years! The range of materials represented is diverse and includes traditional graphite and watercolor as well as more experimental computer printouts and metalpoint. The Museum owns drawings by many of the internationally renowned American artists collected by institutions like the High Museum of Art or the National Gallery of Art—names like John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, David Driskell, and Alma Thomas—making us an incredible community resource that is only a short drive to our location on Wynnton Road in Mid-Town.




Q: What has partnering with the WC Bradley Museum been like? Can you speak to the unique environment and experience this show has to offer?

A: We are thankful to collaborate with our friends at the W.C. Bradley Co. to present this exhibition. We have been very fortunate to work with incredible venues during our Museum On Tour, such as the Illges Gallery at CSU, the Bo Bartlett Center, the Do Good Fund, the Columbus Botanical Garden, the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, and the W.C. Bradley Co. These partnerships have allowed us not only to continue providing programming and events to the community during our renovation, but also to promote and highlight further the amazing cultural resources and experiences available around the city. The W.C. Bradley Museum has a noteworthy collection of its own, for example, and is a beautiful space to display the selection of drawings in Flora and Fauna. We are excited to be able to welcome returning and new visitors to explore the space.


If You Go:

What: 'Flora & Fauna: Drawings from The Columbus Museum

When: Now through December 8

Where: W.C. Bradley Museum, 1017 Front Ave.

Cost: Free to view.



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