Guests view Brenau University's collection of elephant folios of John James Audubon’s "Birds of America," which contains 435 full-sized prints. (AJ Reynolds, Brenau University)
Guests at the Graham Arader Arts & Science Collaborative reception view Brenau University's collection of elephant folios of John James Audubon’s "Birds of America," which contains 435 full-sized prints. (AJ Reynolds, Brenau University)

Reception celebrates Graham Arader Arts & Science Collaborative

Oct. 4, 2019
Kristen Bowman
Claudia Wilburn gives a lecture

Claudia Wilburn, chair of the Art & Design Department and director of the Center for the Arts & Design, gives a lecture on the history of naturalist art.

Written by Nichole Rawlings

The Arader Art Fund at Brenau University, established through a partnership with Graham Arader, is a growing initiative to support the acquisition of natural history artwork and its integration into the undergraduate curriculum. Since its development in late 2018, the fund has helped to bring over 350 works to campus. The works include original watercolors, lithographs, and engravings, and depict botanical, aquatic and avian subject matter. 

To celebrate the growing partnership and the integration of natural history prints, paintings and drawings into the curriculum, Brenau hosted the Graham Arader Arts & Sciences Collaborative Opening Reception on Sept. 25 at the Brenau Trustee Library. The event provided students and the community with connections between artistic works and scientific exploration through programming that included a lecture delivered Claudia Wilburn, Art & Design Department chair and director of the Center for the Arts & Design. Wilburn’s lecture focused on exploring the natural history works through both social context and technical artmaking processes, including videos demonstrating printmaking techniques.  

Examples of works discussed by Wilburn and other prints and rare publications were available for viewing, including Brenau’s complete collection of the Abbeville Press double elephant folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. During the reception portion of the evening, a shuttle was available to take visitors to the Science Building where 57 framed examples of works purchased through the art fund were available for viewing. Brenau students were engaged at the event, offering volunteer support and programming assistance. Studio art major Jennifer Benitez was set near the front of the library doing a watercolor referencing one of Audubon’s famous images of hummingbirds, demonstrating the ways in which the works are being integrated curricularly. 

Through this program, Brenau is able to provide students with access to an extensive collection of natural history art that is unparalleled by similar institutions. Our intentions are to expose students to meaningful integration of the artistic works into a wide variety of courses, with unlimited potential for curricular adaptations across all departments.

For more information about the Arader Art Fund, read the Brenau Window story at window.brenau.edu/articles/the-head-and-the-heart.

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100