When Alfred Heber Holbrook founded the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) in 1948, he had one main goal: make art more available to the people. For 75 years, free entry into the museum has endured to help foster this goal. Over the course of the museum’s history, the number of visitors each year has continued to grow and today, without the barrier of admission fees, the museum sees upwards of 60,000 visitors annually.
The museum’s first home was what is now the current administration building. Holbrook, a retired New York attorney, donated his personal art collection of 100 American paintings to launch the museum, which has now grown into a permanent collection of more than 17,000 works that are protected and preserved on site.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the museum continued to expand its collection under the guidance of Holbrook. By the 1960s, GMOA was becoming a major museum, hosting international exhibitions alongside local and regional works. The art began reflecting the changing times, showcasing abstract expressionism and pop art.
By the 1970s and 1980s, storage was becoming an issue and efforts to raise money for a new building fell short. Still, GMOA became accredited and in 1982, the Georgia General Assembly designated the museum the official state museum of art.
Finally in 1996, under the fundraising and direction of the recently retired director, William Eiland, GMOA moved into a new building on East Campus that is part of UGA’s Performing and Visual Arts Complex. A major expansion to those facilities opened in 2011.
This year marks 75 years of GMOA providing groundbreaking exhibitions, scholarship in the visual arts, a teaching resource for the campus and community and a place of enjoyment and inspiration for visitors of all ages.
Save the Date – Sunday, Nov. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. GMOA will host a Family Day for all ages, featuring art activities for the entire family, prizes, a photo booth, light refreshments and more.
Plus, it’s not too late to vote for your favorite piece of art out of 64 curated pieces. After months of online voting, you can now vote in person for the winner of the Elite Eight. The winner will be announced at the Family Day celebration.