MCA at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
For eighty-four years, the Memphis College of Art (MCA) not only offered rigorous arts education to the residents of Memphis and Shelby County, but also attracted students from across the country and around the world. From its founding in 1936, faculty and graduates successfully pursued careers in a wide variety of fields, and they continue to do so even after the regrettable closing of the school in 2020. To celebrate the illustrious history of the college, in 2025 the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art will open an exhibition with works by faculty, administrators, and graduates. The accompanying catalog will investigate the school’s growth and transformation over the decades, including the founding, in 1923, of the Memphis Academy of Arts Free School from which MCA developed. Beloved mentors and faculty such as Veda Reed, Dolph Smith, Henry Easterwood, and Ted Rust will be considered along with their students, among them Gere Kavanaugh (BFA 1951), James Little (BFA 1974), and Tommy Kha (BFA 2011).
Interested in helping make this show possible?
Marina Pacini, the exhibition guest curator, is asking for graduates, faculty, and administrators to complete a brief questionnaire describing their time at the college. The information you share will be used both for developing the checklist of artwork for the exhibition and for the accompanying exhibition catalog. The goal is to generate as full a picture of what the experience at the college was like and to acknowledge the many successes of the graduates, faculty, and administrators.
Submitting a questionnaire, which includes a request for an image of an artwork, is essential for consideration of inclusion.
Additionally, works in private collections by artists associated with MCA are being sought. Among some of the earliest faculty of special interest are George Oberteuffer (painter), Katherine Forest (decorative design), Martha Turner (design) and Gayle Kirkpatrick (design). Please email us with any information.
All exhibitions at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art are underwritten by the MBMA Exhibition Fund.
Major annual support is provided by Mary Lee Copp Formanek and Maggie and Milton Lovell, with generous annual funding from Anonymous, Gloria and Kenneth Boyland, Deborah and Bob Craddock, Michael and Maria Douglass, Harry Goldsmith, Eleanor and William Halliday, Debi and Galen Havner, Buzzy Hussey and Hal Brunt, Jay and Kristen Keegan, Dr. James Patterson, Dr. Rushton Patterson, Carl and Valerie Person, and Bill Townsend.
Artist + Curator
The 901 Black American Portraits Soundtrack
Listen to a soundtrack of Memphis music that exemplifies Black Love, Power, and Joy. The 901 Black American Portraits Soundtrack celebrates the vibrant legacy and future of Black musicians in the city of Memphis. This playlist was curated by Jared “Jay B” Boyd, a Memphis-based multimedia artist, journalist, DJ, and on-air personality.
MCA Exhibition Questionnaire
Help us generate the fullest picture possible of the MCA experience.
Submitting a questionnaire, which includes a request for an image of an artwork, is essential to be considered for part of the exhibition.
Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
The American art theorist Linda Nochlin (1931-2017) posed this question as the title of a pioneering article in 1971. This essay was considered one of the first major works of Feminist art history, it has become a set text for those who study art internationally, and it is influential in many other fields.