Mythological Creatures from Grahamwood Elementary


Grahamwood Elementary’s CLUE class visited the Brooks on Wednesday, November 20th for a day of art-making and viewing related to Greek mythology. Their itinerary included stops at the Greco-Roman Torso of Pan, 1st century B.C.E. – C.E. 2nd century; The Slaying of Medusa, ca. 1680 and The Massacre of the Children of Niobe, ca. 1680, both by Luca Giordano; and several “everyday” items from the Greco-Roman world, such as Mirror, with Scene of Venus Victrix, 2nd c. A.D. and  Finger Ring Depicting Poseidon, 1st c. B.C. – 1st c. A.D..

In the studio, the students created their own mythological creatures with additional inspiration provided by author and illustrator Eric Carle. His book, Dragons and Dragons, is full of mythological creatures with accompanying poems. Using markers, collage materials and everything they had learned, here is what they came up with:

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Rome City – Still Eternal

Our Assistant Preparator went to Rome and all we got was this knowledge he dropped.


Rome shares a nickname with my birthplace, Lisbon, Portugal, as the “City of the Seven Hills”. But this is only one of Rome’s several nicknames, and it is world famous by the magnificent title of the “Eternal City”.  At the time of Christ’s birth, Rome was the most populous city in existence. The capital of an enormous empire, Rome survived the rise and fall of the Imperium, several barbarian invasions, Napoleon’s conquest, and even a world war. Presently, it is a chaotic European city pulsating with millions of people visiting the Coliseum or the Pantheon, spending money at the Vatican Museum, and crowding the narrow streets that converge at the Fontana di Trevi. Continue reading

Amy Beth Rice: Adventures in Art Education from the Eyes of an Intern

While trying to think of an effective environment for socially-concerned art, I used to have visions of left-leaning galleries, street art, and house shows by small artist collectives. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t think of art museums. The word “museum” conjured images of quiet, chilly rooms housing  masterpieces being respectfully observed by a few individuals with clasped hands and raised eyebrows. However, my experiences at the Brooks and with my internship in the Education department began to gnaw on my preconceived notions of one-dimensionality and the Aztec dance performance during the Day of the Dead event definitely shattered them! The Brooks is so dynamic! I am so often inspired by conversations I’ve had with the staff in Education and others I’ve met here. The passion for art and to engage and educate the community is evident and it’s exciting to learn about and see the ways in which we do so.

I had no idea how much tedious effort it takes to organize an exhibition. Kathy Dumlao allowed me to help organize the student-created altar exhibition for the Day of the Dead event. This primarily took place through emailing, designing promotional and informative material for teachers, more emailing…and then a lot more emailing. I enjoyed the process, but it was not until the kids’ altars were installed and people began to enjoy and connect with them could I understand the richness of what we had been building.

Working on Peaceful Warriors: Aim For Change; showed me how involved the community could become in the exhibition. The photos and text in the show were created by high school students from Trezevant, Hutchison, and Westwood high schools after we visited with them in their classroom. My favorite part was that Karleen Gardner and Jenny Hornby allowed me to develop a powerpoint lecture in which I could use photography examples from the civil rights era and other revolutionary moments to babble on about what I’m most interested in: art and social change. The community then selected the photos for the exhibition on a facebook page. The images touched on a wide range of issues from gang activity to the importance of nutrition to animal cruelty. By focusing on “peaceful warriors” and their strategy to fighting a specific issue, the pieces offered a pathway to solution within their simultaneous focus on a problem. This gave the show a constructive, positive energy that inspired nonviolent action, yet it nicely accompanied the warrior theme of Armed and Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal.

It was exciting to see so many people in the auditorium for the student panel discussion that followed exhibition and to listen to the thoughts of the students and other community voices on the issues impacting our world. Together we pondered the meaning of  the exhibition and how a community can work together to face issues and I realized the active role a museum can play in fostering impactful dialogue.

I’m so grateful for all my experiences at the Brooks, all the fantastic people I’ve met, and the example the ladies in Education have given me of thoughtful, constructive thinkers and doers.

Lectures, Films and Scholastic: What Museums Are Today

I work at the Admissions desk every weekend and have been for over two years. I have seen the progression of the Brooks in that short time, and realized that museums are so much more than the exhibitions they house. It is more, from my perspective, what each exhibition represents to the institution and to its audience.

The museum had a great crowd this month due to the opening of the Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition, a Decorative Arts Trust lecture and the British Arrow Awards film. Those are three distinctive events all occurring in front of the eyes of all of the artworks the museum shows such as our extensive permanent collection that focuses on art that spans time to our traveling and in-house shows that represent so many interests…

Looking into the future, I believe that museums will offer even more to their cities. There are already so many possibilities and ways to turn an institution into exactly what you need it to be for you personally. One could come cost free on a Wednesday, have an inexpensive date on Thursday night or a picnic date on the weekend while lazily strolling around the museum with a full stomach. Or you could catch up with friends and family to eat and shop. I had no clue that museums offered so much! I look forward to seeing you here soon.

What is Provenance and Why Does It Matter?

This past May I attended a Provenance Seminar at the National Archives in Washington D.C. funded, in part, by a grant from the Kress Foundation. Before I worked in museums, provenance was not a word I was familiar with, but since I have come to realize all of the legal and ethical issues associated with it. Provenance is the history of the ownership of an object as it passes through time. Some objects have rather lengthy, illustrious histories. They may have been owned by royalty, barons, wealthy international collectors, or even foreign governments. Others may have been passed down through a family, uneventfully, from generation to generation. But whatever the case, it is the responsibility of a museum to make certain, to the best of its ability, that any object entering the collection has been transferred legally from one owner to another, and that no import/export laws were violated.

One provenance issue that has been of prime importance to museums in recent years is that of Nazi looting in WWII. A seminar that I attended in Washington D.C. in 2011 dealt primarily with this problem. During the war, Hitler and his officers confiscated many works of art during the invasion and occupation of Europe. Some works were taken from state museums, palaces, etc., others from Jewish family collections. After the war, rather than being returned to their legal owners, many of these artworks made their way to the art market, some resold a number of times, and they fell into public and private collections around the world.

In 2011 the Kress Foundation began the lengthy process of investigating WWII provenance issues regarding works collected by Samuel H. Kress that are now in museums and universities nationwide. Although the majority of the works have indisputable provenance, others have incomplete ownership data. Last November Fulvia Zaninelli, who is heading the Kress Provenance project from her office in the National Gallery in Washington D.C., made a trip to Brooks Museum to examine its Kress paintings as she has done at many other institutions. The images and information she has gathered here will be consolidated with those collected from other Kress recipients and any works that appear to have significant gaps in their provenance will be researched further.

Museums worldwide have taken up the task of researching their own collections to locate any of these objects and return them to their rightful owner. Success in tracing this type of information has been vastly improved due to the internet and many of the newly available resources were outlined and discussed at the Washington conference. Although it is still very time consuming, researching provenance can be extremely fascinating as you check old invoices, photographs, auction catalogues, publications, etc. to verify ownership history. And in the course of your investigation you never know what you may find along the way. In my own research I’ve found previous alternate titles for a work, ascertained that another painting had been cut down from its original size, and other evidence that consequently changed the date of a painting. Very much like searching one’s own genealogy, it takes you on different paths, and sometimes with surprising results.

Marilyn Masler
Associate Registrar

Amy Aughinbaugh, Exhibitions Intern, Shares her Experience at the Brooks

Having never interned nor worked at a museum before, this internship has been my first opportunity to witness and participate in the inner-workings of museum business. Thus far since I began in August, I’ve been working under chief curator Marina Pacini on the Brooks’ upcoming exhibition, Armed and Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal (A & D). It’s been an intriguing project because it encompasses several cultural regions and different time periods. My responsibilities have primarily involved locating research materials and then helping Marina comb them for relevant information. I have also been working on organizing the exhibit contents so that Marina can pick the best arrangement and layout of the exhibition displays.

A & D is neat because it has taught me to look at objects which are primarily instruments of destruction as items that nonetheless reflect the art and aesthetics of various cultures. Artistic development as related to weaponry also inevitably leads to military history which offers a further perspective on the many facets of intercultural exchange. For example, the Chinese are generally considered to be the inventors of gunpowder and the first guns, but Europeans quickly took over gunpowder technology and harnessed its results for much more precise and deadly means than the Chinese had yet imagined.

I’m grateful to be working on a project that I will be able to see to its completion since A&D opens in less than one month. I will have learned how an assortment of various objects can come together under curatorial management and become a cohesive statement about the development of visual culture. At the same time, I’ve simply learned a lot of weapons and weaponry. (Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci invented a type of gun which became the forerunner for pistols today?)

Working at the Brooks, especially working so closely with its curator, has been a great opportunity for me which has definitely contributed positively to my thoughts on a future career in the art world. After the opening of A&D, I look forward to assisting with more projects and exhibitions, and I’m only saddened that my time here seems to be passing so quickly.

P.S. Armed and Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal opens November 12!

This blog is written by Amy Aughinbaugh, Exhibitions Intern for the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

The Brushmark: Seasonal and Farm Fresh Summer Menus

It’s the end of summertime and the living is easy. Inspiration comes from many sources for us in the Brushmark. First and foremost, our menus are influenced by the changing seasons. As chefs, freshness is the key to our cooking. With summer comes a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. We are so lucky to be surrounded by farmers who bring us their goodies “fresh from the farm”. Our popular burger comes from Andrew Donnell of Donnell Century Farm outside of Jackson, TN. Most of our vegetables such as tomatoes, baby beets, green beans, & summer squash comes from Elizabeth Heiskell of Woodson Ridge Farm in Oxford, MS. She is also a good friend from our hometown of Cleveland, MS. We love the Heritage Pork that our friend Mark Newman of Newman Farm brings us from a couple of hours north of Memphis. Our accounting department’s own Debbie Sullivan’s nieces provide us with fresh eggs that are served from the popular weekend brunch menu.

As we prepared for the beautiful new exhibition “The Impressionist Revolution”, we wanted to include a few French influenced items to the summer menu. If you haven’t dined in the Brushmark in awhile, now is the time to come sample the new menu. Spend the day at the Brooks enjoying the exhibition. Take a lunch break to enjoy delicious new items such as Chicken Provencal or a Vegetarian Salad “Nicoise”. A perfect way to spend the day out of the Memphis heat.

This post is written by Wally Joe Executive Chef at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Staff Highlight: Kathy Dumlao, Education Employee Extraordinaire

Working at the Brooks has its obvious benefits: working in beautiful and historic Overton park, wearing jeans twice a week, working with fun and creative co-workers — but who are these people, really? Well, now we can find out in our amazing new staff interview highlight! Find out their likes, dislikes and how they got to where they are today!

Our premiere interview is with Kathy Dumlao Associate Curator of Education. She is the first person I thought of to interview because I knew that she used to be me at the museum! Yes, she was an on-call admissions coordinator. Ok, I don’t want to spoil the rest, so enjoy!

What is your job at the Brooks and what does it entail?
I am the Associate Curator of Education, and I coordinate the museum’s family programs (family days, Creation Station, Wacky Wednesdays, and the Light Festival) and several school and after school programs, including Visual Thinking Strategies, the Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards, and the Community Mural Program. I get to do a lot of other fun things too though, like working with our fabulous corps of docents, and I’m planning a summer film camp for June that will culminate in a great kids’ film festival.

What was your first job at the Brooks?
I started working at the Brooks in the summer of 1999 at the admissions desk while I was still in graduate school. I was so excited to get a chance to work in a museum! I completed an internship after I finished college at the gallery on campus (at Radford University in Virginia) and knew that museum work was what I was interested in pursuing. So getting my foot in the door while I was still working on my MA was a great opportunity for me.

What is your favorite piece of art and why?
It is nearly impossible for me to name a favorite work of art! But if I had to pick only one from the Brooks collection, it would probably be “Pastoral Scene” by Jules Dupre. I have loved that painting since I started working at Brooks, and I never get tired of looking at it. I love it for the richness of the color in the trees and the sky, and all the amazing texture. But I also love it for the sense of quiet – the men and the animals are resting – but also the intensity and energy of the sky as it looks like a storm is coming, or maybe it just passed.

Jules Dupre French, 1811-1889 PASTORAL SCENE, 1870 Oil on canvas Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morrie A. Moss 59.29

What has been your favorite exhibit and why?
I really liked “Almost Warm and Fuzzy” a great contemporary art exhibition that we had a number of years ago. It was a great exhibition for kids, but also for adults. There was a large ship by Joseph Schneider draped in fabric in the biggest gallery on the lower level that filled the room with color and pattern and texture. And there was a large piece by Sandy Skoglund (who is one of my favorite artists) that was covered in jelly beans and butterflies. There were interactive pieces that kids and adults could play with and there were pieces that evoked people’s imaginations.

Sandy Skoglund, Shimmering Madness 1999 from (

What is your favorite part about working at the Brooks?
I love the people who I get to work with. Between the fantastic staff at the museum, our amazing volunteers (especially the docents), and the visitors that participate in our tours and programs, I feel fortunate to be able to come to work every day. And of course being surrounded by centuries of amazing art isn’t too bad either.

If you could travel cost free anywhere for one week, where would you go?
Hands down, Greece!

If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Vincent van Gogh is the first artist that comes to mind because I absolutely love his work and he has such a colorful story. I would love to follow him on one of his trips to paint in the fields or listen to the conversations he had while he painted someone’s portrait.

If you could be good at any subject, what would it be and why?
I always struggled with math in school and it’s so important! It’s just something that I wish came a little easier to me.

If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure you’d consider it a super power, but I’d love to be like Samantha in the old TV series, “Bewitched.” How great would it be to wiggle your nose and your house would be clean! Or to snap your fingers and be in the Bahamas!

Meghan Wilcox: Reflection of an Internship

Last semester my passion for the arts and desire to work within the field were strengthened tremendously. Looking back, I can honestly say that I owe a great deal of this heightened fervor to my time spent at the Brooks Museum. During my internship I learned a lot about the inner-workings of museums, their relationships with other institutions, and the public in general. This experience has opened my eyes to a side of the “non-profit” sector which I had not seen before. As a result of this internship combined with previous internships at UrbanArt Commission and ArtsMemphis, I feel I now have a well-rounded view of the innovation and commitment it takes to succeed in this field. It is amazing to see just how much these people really do for the arts and their communities. I was in awe by all the activity I witnessed at the Brooks.

Whether it was the creative and inspiring exhibitions curated by Marina Pacini or Stanton Thomas, the meticulous work of the preparators, Paul Tracy and Louis Giberson, or the heartfelt efforts of the registrar, the lovely Kip Peterson and Marilyn Masler, I know that all I saw was a joined and impassioned effort driven by each one’s love for the arts and for their museum. With all of that said, this is only a miniscule portion of all that goes on at the Brooks. So much goes into everything that is done! This level of devotion is what has truly inspired me to further my studies in Art History after Rhodes and to perhaps pursue a career that allows me to bring art to others in a similar way. I have really appreciated having the opportunity to get to know these people and their museum, and what really, I am proud to call “my” museum.

This blog was written by Meghan Wilcox Exhibitions Intern 2010. Meghan is currently in her senior year at Rhodes College.

My Favorite Piece at the Brooks: A Before I Worked Here Perspective

Abbott H. Thayer, American, 1849 - 1921, Gladys, ca. 1915, Oil on Canvas, Gift of Mr. Francis M Weld 44.1, detail

When I was in my last year of school, I contemplated where I wanted to obtain an internship and where I might want to work. After visiting several local museums, I returned to the Brooks because of the way I felt emotionally and physically when I viewed the works there. I liked the openness of the rotunda and the grandness of the museum. At the time, I was so fascinated with working in a museum or gallery. I interned at The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange which taught me how to accession works of art, or in their case, works of historical significance such as documents, cotton seeds and letters. I met great friends there, and still think of the museum fondly. I simultaneously interned at a local gallery and I am so thankful that I was able to experience those surroundings. I thought initially that I wanted to work in an art gallery, but soon realized it was not the setting for me. I applied for a position at the Brooks I believe three times before I received a call for an interview. Every time I visited, I would check-in about any openings and view the permanent collection. I’m not sure why I never took much interest in traveling shows, I just simply enjoyed the paintings in the American and French galleries the most. I immediately walked briskly toward my love in the museum, my all-time favorite painting at the Brooks.

Abbott H. Thayer, American, 1849 - 1921, Gladys, ca. 1915, Oil on Canvas, Gift of Mr. Francis M Weld 44.1

Time after time, Abbott H. Thayer’s, Gladys, ca. 1915 asks me what she is thinking and where she is. This portrait of a woman and her gaze (go art term!) and expression are what draw me in. The brushstrokes solidify my attraction. They are thick, heavy and quick. I love them-I cannot even really tell you in words how much I love these brushstrokes. The looseness in which they are distributed over the medium-sized canvas makes the viewer uneasy and curious. She is not a ‘pretty’ painting, she is not meant to attract the ever-present male gaze throughout art history (see Odalisque).

Abbott H. Thayer, American, 1849 - 1921, Gladys, ca. 1915, Oil on Canvas, Gift of Mr. Francis M Weld 44.1, detail

She is there, in my opinion, as a warning. She is not only warning her viewer, but anyone who dares to mess with her. She carries a sad expression that is laiden with fatigue. She’s lost her battle and is simply living out her many days in her physical body, but her mind is diligently fighting back nevermind her exhaustion. I like to think that she is about to marry a man for whom she doesn’t love. Gladys has another suitor. A handsome commoner man who loves her endlessly but-alas-she must marry this heathen of a fellow. She looks angry, like she’s going to pull a Judith moment as soon as the ceremony is over. Although, maybe she’ll end up with her true love and live happily ever after; I know I will.

The Tennessee Arts Commission: A Who, What, When and Why to the Arts

Last week, the Brooks was proud to host a quarterly meeting of the Tennessee Arts Commission. The TAC is one of our major supporters, and you may have seen their logo on our website and our promotional materials. But what is the TAC, exactly, and what do they do?

An agency of the Tennessee state government, The Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967 “to stimulate and encourage the presentation of performing, visual and literary arts throughout the state and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee.” To that end, the TAC awards dozens of grants to qualified arts organizations from Memphis to Knoxville, and everywhere in between.

Some of that money helps organizations like the Brooks with general operating costs—staff salaries, utilities, maintenance, and other fairly unexciting day-to-day expenses. (Sponsors rarely like to fund general operating costs, but it’s some of the most crucial funding we receive.) Other TAC funding goes toward specific programs that fit into categories like Arts Education, Professional Development Support, and Student Ticket Subsidies.

Naturally, TAC funds aren’t just handed out to anyone who wants them. Each year, organizations undergo a competitive (and rigorous) application process. We at the Brooks are proud to be the recipients of one of the TAC’s larger grants. We’ve received this funding for years—and yet every year we have to re-apply for it, in addition to appearing in Nashville every other year to undergo a panel review. These guys aren’t kidding around.

So where does the TAC get the funds it distributes? Well, the state contributes $2.8 million, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Education pitches in another $1.3 million. But the majority of the TAC’s funding—about $5.4 million annually—comes from our state’s innovative Specialty License Plate program. Any time you see a Tennessee license plate that promotes an organization or cause (including colleges, sports teams, clubs, etc.), the TAC has benefited from its purchase. If a plate is personalized, the TAC benefits even more.

So, thanks mostly to the license plate program, the TAC disburses more than $7.5 million in grants. (The remainder of their budget goes toward operating costs, like rent, salaries, and travel.) The TAC’s income numbers place Tennessee 12th in the nation—and 1st in the South—in per capita legislative appropriations for the arts.

You can support the TAC by joining its support group, Tennesseans for the Arts, or by upgrading your boring old license plate to a spiffy new one (and emblazoning it with your nickname). You can also help them out by keeping tabs on your legislators. Are your Senator and Representative voting their support for the arts? In addition to providing enrichment and enjoyment, the arts create thousands of jobs and generate millions in revenues, so supporting them is kind of a no-brainer.

The Brooks depends on a whole network of supporters that enable us to do what we do. So, a big thanks to the Tennessee Arts Commission as well as to our other foundation, corporate, and individual donors for keeping the doors open, the lights on, and the art accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it.

This post is authored by our Grants Manager Bob Arnold.

Home School at the Brooks!

Home School at the Brooks is a program offered through the Education department where we set aside four days of the year for students that are home schooled to come to the museum and have a docent-led tour and participate in a studio activity.

For our last home school session of 2010, held in November, we focused on a collection of three special exhibitions that comprise our Picturing America tour: William Christenberry: Photographs, 1961-2005; Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction; and Remembering a House Divided: Robert King’s Photographs of Civil War Re-Enactors. The tour primarily focused on American identity of the 19th century and gave students and parents a chance to see how art reflected the cultural, historic, artistic, social, and economic landscape of the time.

In the studio, students did a series of three relief prints, or a triptych, where they focused on progressive change over time. The relief printing process reinforced the artistic process used by Winslow Homer and the subject matter paralleled William Christenberry’s focus on how things, specifically buildings, changed over time. Want to learn how to create your own triptych? Keep reading to see the process we used in the studio!

First, students created a simple outline of a building on their printing plate (foam board) using a pencil.

Next, the students printed. They covered their printing plate in paint using a brayer, placed a piece of white paper over the printing plate, pressed the paper down, and then removed the piece of paper like a sticker.

For the second print, they added texture onto the same printing plate. Our texture materials included seashells, a stylus, and other tools. After they added texture, the students printed again.

Finally, the students added any final details they wanted to include on their printing plate. With a final print, the students completed their triptych.

Once the process was complete, students matted their three prints onto a long sheet of paper and signed it like a printmaker – with a title, the number in the series, and their artist signature.

Looking back at some of the images from this home school session, I remember how much fun we (the Education staff) had making this print, too. In fact, my colleague was so smitten with hers that she hung it in our office. It’s a simple reminder that we are students of art, too… and it’s so much fun!!

If you’re interested in learning more about Home School at the Brooks, click here. We hope you can join us next year!

Check out more about the Brooks Education programs here.

This post was authored by our very own Tour Coordinator Sharon Atteberry.

Guest Blogger Cort Percer Muses on Maquettes

Cort Percer is a freelance writer and event coordinator. He produced the Bicycle Film Festival Memphis 2009 and 2010 at the Brooks. Percer also works at the Peddler Bicycle Shop on Highland and is involved with the Greater Memphis Greenline, Walk, Bike! Memphis, and Revolutions Bicycle Co-op. Follow his blog at

Teeny Tiny Bike Racks

After seeing this article in the Flyer Emily and I made an appointment with the Urban Art Commission to view Gadsby Creson’s 40 Bike Rack Maquettes. For those of us who slept through Art School Vocabulary 101 a maquette (even my spellcheck doesn’t recognize the word!) is “a small model or study in three dimensions for either a sculptural or an architectural project.”

Now that you’ve learned something today, let’s look at a couple of the racks. Gadsby, who rides a bike only occasionally admits that she approached these racks from an artistic perspective. In some cases the art outweighs the functionality; there is no way to actually secure your bike to a rack like this:

The small portion of Memphians (even Americans) who use our bikes for more than recreation need to know our bike is secure. Bike racks can do this and be artistic at the same time. The best bike rack in Memphis is at the Brooks Museum because it incorporates the environment and is very secure. Gadsby does this in her work as well:

An anchor in front of The Cove: kinda kitschy but it works. It worked for David Byrne on Wall Street and New York’s fashion district. But you’re still limited with the number of bicycles you can attach without going full on bike-pile. Granted, getting people out on bikes is good but two people? Why not ten or twenty? We’ve seen the amount of people riding the Greenline. They’re out there. But in addition to giving them a place to ride we also need to give them a place to park. Gadsby nails it with this one:

Depending on the space between the bars you could potentially fit twelve bikes on that rack. It doesn’t imitate its environment but its got form, color, and functionality going for it. It looks pretty rad but maybe that’s just my affinity for orange.

To view the rest of the maquettes make an appointment via The exhibit runs through January 28th. But don’t wait until then: on November 19th and 20th as part of the “New Face for an Old Broad” event the UAC will be projecting the maquettes in their gallery space.

Development Department: Fashion vs. Culture

Diane Jalfon is the Director of Development and a strong, determined woman. A piece of advice: read her perspective and learn from her wisdom. Oh, and wish her a happy birthday, too!

I was driving home the other day listening to my friends at WKNO slog through their bi-annual pledge drive with a mix of admiration and sympathy. It’s admirable that season after season they summon an amazing amount of energy and optimism to reach their fundraising goals. But I’m sympathetic to the difficulty of raising money in these precarious economic times.

I mean, if you have to choose between eating out once a week or renewing your WKNO, zoo, or Brooks membership your are probably going to go with dinner out. Many of us are having to make choices like this these days. We’re re-evaluating what’s really important. Thankfully, there’s a lot of people choosing to invest in their community rather than buy designer clothing. Let’s face it – trends come and go. That Prada purse will be obsolete in a year or two but investing in Memphis has lasting effects. Things like WKNO radio, the world-class Memphis Zoo, and the always-interesting Brooks help make Memphis a more livable city.

Plus, there’s real value to investing in culture. For $75 a year, a family of 5 can come to the Brooks an unlimited number of times, receive free audio tours, participate in free Saturday morning art activities each month, enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages at 4 members-only receptions, see live music and special performances on Thursday nights, and get 10% off at the Brushmark Restaurant and Museum Store. You can’t even touch a Prada belt for less than $300.

Don’t get me wrong – I like fashion as much as the next gal. But these days I would rather spend my money on something more substantial. Invest in the Brooks – it will expand your world and get you a whole year of fun. Plus you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you made a good investment in your community.

Click here to read more about all the memberships we offer or join now.

Diane Jalfon
Director of Development

Who Shot Rock and Roll: The De-installation Photos!

Ever wondered about all of the rules of the trade when dealing with artwork? Well, i don’t know all of those rules, but I’m great with a camera! Check out these photos of the de-installation of Who Shot Rock.

Chief Preparator Paul Tracy, Assistant Preparator Louis Giberson, and Collections Manager Kip Peterson carefully prepare the artwork for shipping. The Preparators are removing the images from the wall, and Kip is checking the books.

This is an image of one of the galleries from above. This area is closed to the public, but we unlocked the door to get access to this area.

Check back soon for video and photos of our next installation!

Seasonal Food and Beautiful Surroundings: The Brushmark Restaurant

The Brooks has changed my cooking with the power of art.

Like so many other restaurants, at the Brushmark, we change our menu with the seasons. As chefs, Wally and I plan our menu the season before, using our years of experience to guess the availability of new foods. Sometimes, it is hard to be inspired to write a menu around pumpkins and chanterelle mushrooms while still serving ripe tomatoes and melons.

The Brooks offers many outlets for inspiration. The changing exhibitions have always yielded good ideas. In 2007, the Brushmark paired Ethiopian injera and piri piri with “Power Dressing: Men’s Fashion and Prestige in Africa”. Later, when “Canaletto” was on display, it only seemed natural to serve northern Italian cuisine.

It’s not always a painting or photograph on a wall that drives our menu decisions. There are many other programs at the museum that help. While showing the British Television Advertising Awards every January, we serve British pub food. Films, educational programs, and seasonal holidays make it easy to make a decision on the day’s menu.

September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Brooks will be full of activities, including my favorite, a piñata workshop. The menu selections for this fall should be obvious: South American. Although most of my training is in French and Southern U.S. cuisine, I do from time to time make mole or chimi churi.

On our new menu, we will wrap Newman Farms pork in banana leaves, and roast it slowly over apple wood smoke until tender. This will be served in a torta bolillo, or Mexican sandwich similar to a mini baguette. For dessert: my take on tres leches. I have used my knowledge of French patisserie to recreate this tasty cake. For the base, we use a Jaconde or thin almond cake. It absorbs the three sweet milks very well while still holding its shape. We pair the cake with braised figs, more almonds, and a citrus fig caramel made from dulce leche (caramelized milk).

From the kitchen… we can’t wait to see what the museum inspires us to do next!

Andrew Adams, Chef de Cuisine
Brushmark Restaurant
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art