Savannah's Telfair Museums to build new children's art museum wing
The Telfair Children's Art Museum, scheduled to open in 2023, will be located in downtown Savannah's Jepson Center. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports.
One of Georgia's oldest cultural institutions plans to add a new offering to its lineup come next year: the Telfair Children's Art Museum (CAM).
Telfair Museums — the Savannah nonprofit which manages two art museums in the Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center, as well as the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters — announced that it will transform part of the Jepson Center into CAM.
“The way we're conceiving of it is as a journey of art exploration for children of all ages and their families,” Telfair Museums CEO and executive director Benjamin Simons said. “There will be a tunnel gallery, there will be large immersive galleries, there will be a portrait gallery of interactives. We're really excited about it.”
The Jepson Center, built in 2006, houses contemporary art, while the neighboring Telfair Academy — which the nonprofit claims to be the oldest public art museum in the South, having opened in 1886 — is home to older works, as well as the iconic "Bird Girl" sculpture made famous by the 1994 book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Simons said that CAM will connect with core elements of the Georgia school curriculum and national educational standards by tying in learning experiences with Telfair Museums' permanent collection, with an emphasis on American Impressionism. For the youngest of visitors, a toddler area will offer tactile exhibits meant to introduce them to art and architecture.
Although the Jepson Center already has exhibit space geared toward children, Simons said that discussions with community partners helped the nonprofit recognize the need for a major update to the space.
Savannah-based design firm Fren Inc. will serve as the general contractor. Simons said that the company has already begun ordering the equipment and building materials needed for the project, in an effort to get ahead of global supply-chain delays.