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Reynolda House Museum of American Art Announces Plans to Celebrate the Centennial of its Historic Estate

Plans Include Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition, New Book, Mobile Tour

Media Note: Images available upon request to Sarah Smith, smithsr@reynoldahouse.org or 336.758.5524.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (January 29, 2017) – Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the centerpiece of the Reynolda Historic District in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, plans a year of groundbreaking exhibitions, special events and the unveiling of a new tour experience to mark the centennial of the completion of the estate.

One hundred years ago this year, in December 1917, Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, Richard Joshua (R. J.) Reynolds, moved into their newly finished estate at 2250 Reynolda Road, a few miles from downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, headquarters of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Fifty years later, the magnificent 60-room bungalow, set amid landscaped gardens and rolling hills, opened to the public in 1967 as a museum dedicated to American art. Today, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village attract tens of thousands of visitors from North Carolina and beyond each year. 

“The centennial of Reynolda is an opportunity to highlight the very best of what Reynolda has meant to our community over the years,” says Allison Perkins, museum executive director and Wake Forest University’s associate provost for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens. “We wanted to bring the finest art exhibitions in the United States to North Carolina, create meaningful events that people will remember for years to come and present stories about this place that represent the people who have lived here, worked here and visited here.”

Reynolda’s centennial celebrations kick off in August with the opening of “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” (August 18-November 19, 2017), the first exhibition to examine the renowned artist’s self-crafted persona. Reynolda House is one of only three venues to host the exhibition, and the only venue south of New York. This exhibition, organized by the Brooklyn Museum, presents a completely new perspective on the unified modernist aesthetic of O’Keeffe’s dress and art through paintings, photographs and selected items from her personal wardrobe never before exhibited. “Pool in the Woods: Lake George,” 1922, a highlight of Reynolda House’s collection, is included in the exhibition.

In anticipation of high visitation for the exhibition, the museum will offer timed tickets for visitors and extend its hours to 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. Tickets for the exhibition will go on sale in May.

The museum’s annual fall fundraising gala, set for Oct. 7 on the front lawn of Reynolda, will be a black-tie affair for 500 friends of the museum and Reynolds family members.  The “Reynolda Centennial Ball” will take shape with the help a committee of volunteers and Apotheosis Events, a New York-based event company led by University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumnus Ryan Hill, who recently organized the opening night and Tony Awards parties for “Hamilton.” Museum officials say that the event is already nearly sold out.

In September, the museum will mark its 50th anniversary with two events launching the publication of the first book to chronicle the stories behind the American art collection. “Reynolda: Her Muses, Her Stories,” will be a hardback coffee table book distributed by UNC Press and available for purchase in the museum’s store. Tickets for the events on Sept. 8 and 9 will include a copy of the book and a panel discussion with its authors.

One hundred years to the month after the Reynolds family moved into their new home, Reynolda House will mark its centennial Christmas with historically accurate decorations, special tours of “A 1917 Christmas” and other events.

The centennial celebrations continue into spring 2018, when Reynolda House will host a major exhibition of another icon in American art also represented in the museum’s collection, Frederic Church. Organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts, “Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage” (Feb. 9-May 13, 2018) will include more than 40 paintings, featuring some of Church’s large, panoramic landscapes and accompanying studies. Reynolda House’s own Church masterpiece, “The Andes of Ecuador,” 1855, will be on view prominently in the historic house during the exhibition.

Perkins says the centennial will be about visitors, members, volunteers, staff and the entire community celebrating this milestone, and she is already beginning plans for what comes next. As Reynolda concludes its centennial events, it will present new ways for the public to experience the collections, grounds, and estate.

 “An important part of the museum’s planning for the centennial is not only celebrating the year, but using it as a moment to launch Reynolda’s second century,” she says.

The museum received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the fall of 2016 – the largest federal grant in museum history – to develop a new web-based tour of the estate that will be available in June 2018. To complement this project, in January Reynolda began a year-long rebrand project with Winston-Salem-based Device Creative Collaborative that will result in a new visual identity for the estate scheduled to debut spring 2018.

The team at Device also developed Reynolda’s centennial brand and logo. Reynolda House will have commemorative centennial merchandise available in the museum store starting in July.

The museum has created a microsite that will launch in February, reynoldahouse.org/100, with information on events, news, and exhibitions during the centennial year. Reynolda House is also collecting stories about all aspects of Reynolda from visitors, volunteers, and the local community to add to a section of the site they are calling #myreynolda. The museum is asking for photographs taken at Reynolda from family scrapbooks, stories of special moments on the grounds or inside the museum, and favorite memories of visits or experiences. To submit your story, leave an audio message at 336.758.3138, email myreynolda@reynoldahouse.org, or tag posts on social media with #myreynolda.  

Numerous sponsors are supporting Reynolda’s centennial year, and a limited number of sponsorship opportunities are still available. For information, contact Stephan Dragisic, director of development, at dragissm@reynoldahouse.org or 336.758.5595. Sponsors will be announced later this spring.

About Reynolda House
Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is recognized as a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions. The museum presents an exceptional collection of art by America’s most noted artists in an incomparable setting:  the 1917 American country home of Katharine and Richard Joshua (R. J.) Reynolds. Spanning 250 years of painting, prints, sculpture, photography and video art, the collection has been guided with the prescient and unerring eye of Barbara Babcock Millhouse, granddaughter of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds. Highlights include important works by Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Frederic Edwin Church, Chuck Close, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Martin Johnson Heade, Lee Krasner, Georgia O’Keeffe, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, Gilbert Stuart and Grant Wood. In addition to its collection of fine art, Reynolda House also holds decorative arts and estate archive collections and mounts exhibitions from all periods in the 2005 Charles and Mary Babcock Wing. Established in 1967 and now affiliated with Wake Forest University, the museum will mark two anniversaries in 2017—the 50th of its founding and the 100th of the completion of its estate—with major exhibitions and events. The complete Reynolda experience includes Reynolda Gardens, composed of formal gardens, walking trails and wetlands, and Reynolda Village, now an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants in many of the estate’s original buildings. For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org. Connect at facebook.com/rhmaa and @VisitReynolda.