Reynolda House Museum of American Art Reports Record Breaking Month

The numbers are in, and results show that last month was the best October in terms of walk-in visitation for Reynolda House Museum of American Art since the museum opened the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing in 2005. Throughout the month, 2,868 people visited the museum to tour the historic house and view the featured exhibition “Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”

To provide an accurate comparison from year to year, attendance reflects walk-in visitation only; programs and special events, which vary from year to year, are excluded. In October 2011, another 1,000 people attended museum programs and events.

“Modern Masters,” an exhibition that examines the complex nature of American art in the mid-20th century, opened at Reynolda House the first weekend of October 2011. October is typically a popular month for visitation to the museum, as major exhibitions have often opened or been on view during that time. The second highest attendance in the same month was in 2008, when the museum opened “Seeing the City: Sloan’s New York.”

“Modern Masters’ is an exhibition that should not be missed, and we’re thrilled that the number of visitors to the museum during its opening month indicate that Piedmont Triad residents are taking full advantage of enjoying this remarkable exhibition,” Reynolda House Executive Director Allison Perkins said. “We’ve seen a sense of pride among our members and visitors that Winston-Salem is host to this exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and I think we will see many local residents sharing it with their visiting family and friends during the holidays.”

In addition to walk-in visitation, sales at the Reynolda House museum store last month exceeded any previous October. One of the most popular items at the museum store is the “Modern Masters” exhibition catalog, which lists Reynolda House as an official venue for the exhibition. The catalog will be available at the museum store throughout the holiday season while supplies last.

“Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” runs through Dec. 31, 2011, and is North Carolina’s first exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in nearly ten years. It explores the lives of painters and sculptors who sought to understand the motivations that shape human life, and, in doing so, created a compelling new art and emerged as visual spokesmen in post-war America. Reynolda House is the final venue of only six museums across the country to host the exhibition and the only one in North Carolina.

Featuring 31 of the most celebrated artists who came to maturity in the 1950s, the exhibition examines the complex and varied nature of American abstract art through 43 key paintings and sculptures selected from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection.

The museum created a special webpage for the exhibition, reynoldahouse.org/modern, to help prepare visitors to experience “Modern Masters.” The page includes conversation starters, links to special weekend packages, and a behind-the-scenes video of the installation of the exhibition. The video also can be found on the museum’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/reynoldahouse.

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Fund, the C.F. Foundation in Atlanta, and members of the Smithsonian Council for American Art have generously contributed to “Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”

Reynolda House received support for this exhibition from Lead Sponsor Hillsdale Fund, Inc.; Contributing Sponsors Hawthorn PNC Family Wealth, Mia Celano and Skip Dunn, and Flow Companies, Inc.; and Exhibition Partners Harriet and Elms Allen, Cathleen and Ray McKinney, and Debbie and Mike Rubin. A portion of this exhibition is funded by the Charles H. Babcock, Jr. Community and Arts Initiative Endowment and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is one of the nation’s premier American art museums, with masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Gilbert Stuart among its permanent collection. Affiliated with Wake Forest University, Reynolda House features traveling and original exhibitions, concerts, lectures, classes, film screenings and other events. The museum is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the historic 1917 estate of Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolda House and adjacent Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village feature a spectacular public garden, dining, shopping and walking trails. For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org or call 336.758.5150.

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