By Howard Pousner
The High Museum of Art and Gainesville’s Brenau University are forging a partnership that promises to expand the school’s arts curriculum and give the museum a wider audience, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.
The High and Brenau will formally announce Tuesday a three-year collaboration beginning in August in which the university gets close access to the museum’s exhibitions, collections, programs and staff expertise. The partnership is the first of its kind for both institutions.
Brenau students and faculty will receive free or discounted admission to High exhibits and collections, as well as get the opportunity to participate in internships, attend lectures and partake of behind-the-scenes museum programs.
Brenau President Ed Schrader called the partnership “creative and groundbreaking” in an exclusive interview with the AJC, and he said he hopes it will be a model that the new partners can teach to other art and academic institutions nationwide.
The collaboration “will build upon our mutual commitment to the study of works of art and the integration of the arts into education,” the High’s director, Michael Shapiro, said in a prepared statement.
The program will be open to Brenau’s entire student body: the 900 women enrolled at the Gainesville residential campus and 1,900 in graduate co-ed programs online and at satellite campuses, including two metro Atlanta campuses in Norcross and Fairburn. Teaching modules that tap into High exhibits and collections will be developed for Brenau art majors and as a part of the school’s freshman seminar.
“The students will experience the highest-quality fine art through this relationship that can be experienced anywhere in the world,” Schrader said. “When we take 200 students to the High, they won’t be just going to look at pretty pictures, they will have had an in-depth study of the artists, the art, the age before they get there.”
A liberal arts institution founded in 1878, Brenau was selected as the High’s initial academic partner because of its history of presenting art exhibitions and for the way art is integrated into daily life on the Gainesville campus, High spokeswoman Nicole Johnson said.
The school presents exhibits in three campus galleries and has a permanent art collection numbering 2,000 works, much of it on view in offices, hallways and other public spaces. The collection includes pieces by modern masters such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol and many works by female artists.
“We have a really fine collection of modern work, and I think that really put us on a different plane” in terms of the High’s consideration, said Schrader, who has works by Renoir and Cezanne displayed in his office.
“I think the High and Brenau have several specifically identical goals, and one is to get people to see more art,” Schrader said. “Our belief is that the more people see and experience art, the more that they will appreciate and support art.”