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Georgia Museum of Art
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March Madness Contest

Throughout 2023, the Georgia Museum of Art at UGA will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The celebration launched with a unique “March Madness” contest that allows you to vote online for your favorite work from the collection through the museum’s Instagram stories (@georgiamuseum). The contest will move into in-person voting once the online voting results determine an Elite Eight. The winner will be announced at the annual Friends Appreciation Month kick-off event, on Aug. 26.

For the competition, museum staff curated a selection of 64 works from the collection that will vie for the title and are seeded from 1 to 16 and divided into four different divisions, including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and decorative arts. See the bracket below.

The museum opened to the public on Nov. 8, 1948, following a gift from Alfred Heber Holbrook, a retired lawyer from New York. At the time, it was the largest gift of art to a southern university ever, initially numbering 100 American paintings by artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer.

Holbrook said that he selected UGA after extensive investigation “because he had found more evidence of genuine art culture in Athens than any university he had visited in the South.” He would eventually move into a house on Fortson Road and enroll in art classes, where he was known for his enthusiasm and his pink smock. Holbrook insisted on free admission from the beginning and often toured paintings around the state in a car provided by the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

When the museum opened, it occupied two galleries in the basement of what was then the old university library and is now the Administration Building. Over the past 75 years, the museum’s collection has grown to more than 17,000 objects. It now occupies a large contemporary building with 21 galleries plus a sculpture garden on UGA’s East Campus. In 1982, the Georgia legislature designated the museum the official art museum of the state.

Later in 2023, the museum will finish reinstalling the last of its permanent collection galleries, a process that began in 2020, and an audio tour will launch, featuring a wide variety of voices on works that mean something to them. An interactive visitor response wall is now in place at the entrance to the museum’s permanent collection wing, asking people to share their favorite memories from its history and their visions for the future. The UGA Special Collections Library will host an exhibition on the museum’s history in its atrium from May through August.

Visit for more information on March Madness, other 75th anniversary events, to learn more about the museum’s history, or to donate.

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