Art Bridges Cohort Program

Led by the Wadsworth Atheneum, this partnership brings together institutions from three distinct geographic regions including the Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC), the Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, AL), and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Montgomery, AL). Together, the four institutions will be known as the American South Consortium. Part of the nationwide Art Bridges Cohort Program, this partnership is unique in that it will emphasize material culture among its curatorial offerings.

The Art Bridges Cohort Program allows us to share our exceptional American collections with wider audiences. We are thrilled to welcome great objects from institutions in the American South that will expand our understanding and appreciation of the diversity of American art and material culture.

Matthew Hargraves, Director of the Wadsworth

The project will launch in spring 2023 and conclude in early 2026. The first phase features a series of Spotlight installations, where each partner museum presents a singular object from their collection. This format highlights the stories behind these great works through an in-depth presentation of its artistic, social and historic contexts. Every Spotlight will travel and be displayed at each venue. The second phase will be a larger, mid-size exhibition shown at all venues from 2024 to early 2026. Currently in development, the exhibition will bring together works from each partner museum in conversation with a core group of loans from the Wadsworth’s collections.

Phase One: Spotlight Installations

The Spotlight series features objects from the 19th century to the contemporary moment, representing an impressive array of materials and makers.

Explore the stories behind the artists and their works using our Mobile Guide.

Dusti Bongé

An Abstract Expressionist painting titled Distillate of the Past (Fragment of the Past) (1958), made by Dusti Bongé (1903–1993), considered to be Mississippi’s first modern artist.

Mobile Museum of Art: March 23–July 1, 2023
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: July 13–October 22, 2023
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: November 16, 2023–March 24, 2024
Columbia Museum of Art: April 6–July 30, 2024

Alexander Calder

Expanding the story of modern design through rarely seen textiles by Alexander Calder (1898–1976), such as Untitled (1965), originally for a Breuer-designed modernist home in Connecticut, and Rasoir d’avion (1970-75), produced in France.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: March 23–June 4, 2023
Mobile Museum of Art: July 7–October 22, 2023
Columbia Museum of Art: November 11, 2023–February 25, 2024
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: April 11–August 11, 2024

Thomas Day

A Bureau (c. 1855) made by Thomas Day (1801–1861) demonstrates the accomplishments of a free Black cabinetmaker in the face of restrictive conditions in the pre-Civil War South.

Columbia Museum of Art: March 25–June 4, 2023
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: June 29–October 22, 2023
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: November 16, 2023–March 17, 2024
Mobile Museum of Art: April 11–August 11, 2024

Yvonne Wells

Yvonne Wells (b. 1939) creates dynamic story quilts highlighting powerful historic Alabama figures such as Helen Keller (2006).

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: March 23–June 4, 2023
Columbia Museum of Art: July 15–October 22, 2023
Mobile Museum of Art: November 16, 2023–March 17, 2024
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: April 11–August 11, 2024

Phase Two: (Un)Settled: The Landscape in American Art 

A collaborative exhibition presented by the American South Consortium, (Un)Settled celebrates the rich, complicated, and evolving topic of the landscape in American art, from its origins in 19th century painting into contemporary art.

Exhibition dates

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: January 26–April 14, 2024 
Columbia Museum of Art: June 15–September 8, 2024 
Mobile Museum of Art: October 12, 2024–February 2, 2025 
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: June 12–September 17, 2025 

This multi-year, multi-institutional exhibition partnership formed by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is made possible by the Art Bridges Cohort Program. 

Images: Thomas Day (American, 1801–1861) Bureau, c. 1855. Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC); Yvonne Wells (American b. 1939), Helen Keller, 2006. Cotton/polyester blend, cotton, plastic buttons, embroidery thread, and lace. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase; Dusti Bongé (American, 1903–1993), Distillate of the Past (Fragment of the Past), 1958. Oil on canvas. Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL, Gift of Dusti Bongé Foundation; Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), Untitled, 1965, hooked by Leslie and Rufus Stillman after a design by Calder. Orange, yellow, blue, and black wool, 64 x 81 in. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Gift of Leslie and Rufus Stillman, 2002.29.1. © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York