For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design

July 19 – September 27, 2020
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions

Organized by the American Federation of Arts and the National Academy of Design.
Support for the national tour is provided by the JFM Foundation, Monique Schoen Warshaw, and Steph & Jody La Nasa.

Founded in 1825 by a group of forward-thinking individuals, the National Academy of Design has a simple yet powerful mission: to provide means for the training of artists and the promotion and exhibition of their art. Since its founding, the Academy has upheld a rule from its first constitution: any elected National Academician must donate a work of art to the Academy’s collection. In 1839, the Academy decided that any individual nominated to the preceding rank of Associate National Academician must also present a portrait of themselves for the collection, whether painted by their own hand or that of a fellow artist. Such gifts of “diploma works” and “diploma portraits” are the defining feature of the Academy’s collection and the focus of this exhibition.

Over the decades, these submissions have grown into a distinctive collection of American art that today includes nearly every major American artist. For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design is the first exhibition to highlight this pivotal aspect of the collection—the joint presentation of an artist’s portrait with his or her diploma work. In showcasing artists’ portraits alongside representative works from their own hand, this exhibition provides a stunning opportunity to consider the ways in which a group of American artists have viewed themselves and their peers for the past two centuries. Featuring one hundred paintings, For America presents not only a visual document of the Academy’s membership but a singular history of American painting from 1809 to the present as told by its makers.

Sponsored by: Karen and Preston Dorsett | Anne and Mike Keeney | Nancy and Steve Morrow Ann M. Mullis | Gwen and Penn Owen | Chris and Dan Richards Trish and Carl Ring | Barbara and Lewis Williamson 

Hughie Lee-Smith, Self-Portrait, 1964; Oil on canvas; National Academy of Design, New York


Maritza Dávila: Journey

July 19 – September 27, 2020
Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries

Maritza Dávila has been a fixture in the Memphis arts scene for more than three decades. Born in Puerto Rico, Dávila moved to the United States to study print- making at the Pratt Institute from where she holds a Master of Fine Arts. She moved to Memphis in 1981 and almost immediately began teaching at Mem- phis College of Art, where she remained for more than thirty-five years, serving as the head of printmaking for much of that time. Her passion for printmaking is paralleled by her passion for teaching; working with students is embedded in her growth as an artist. Now a Professor Emerita, she continues to be a strong advocate for her students. She is also the owner and director of Atabeira Press, a fine arts studio where she creates and leads workshops.

Dávila’s dedication to printmaking is rooted in her love of process. She sees each important step that goes into creating one of her works as part of a voyage. The title of the exhibition, Journey, is evocative of ideas that are important to Dávila and are themes in her practice: the notion of travel, both spiritual and physical, the concepts of becoming, of growing into, of development and maturity. Her identities as an artist, wife, teacher, mother, and grandmother, all factor into her creations. The work in Journey reflects Dávila’s versatility as a printmaker, bring- ing together a wide range of her printed works, including artist’s books, collo- graphs, silk aquatint, and screen print, sometimes all together in one piece.

Maritza Dávila, Anatomía de un lenguaje, 2020; Collagraph, screen print, collage; Courtesy of the artist 


Made in Dixon / Hecho en Dixon

July 19 – December 20, 2020
Tommy and Liz Farnsworth Education Building, Interactive Gallery

Artist Recognition during More than Words Family Day
Saturday November 14, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Every year the Dixon offers art and horticulture programs for thousands of visi- tors and people in the community. In this exhibition you will see artwork from participants of all ages, diverse cultural backgrounds, and interests. These amazing artists bring the Dixon alive with their stories told through unique works of art. Made in Dixon / Hecho en Dixon presents hundreds of works that reflect the efforts of over five hundred participants. These works are a window to numer- ous programs implemented onsite and in the community. 

Education programs sponsored by: AutoZone, Inc. | John Dustin Buckman Charitable Trust H.W. Durham Foundation | FedEx Corporation | Martha and Robert Fogelman | Bradley and Robert Fogelman II Andrew Inglis

Coming Up
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm
Third Thursdays: Open until 8pm
Special / Holiday Hours

This site was funded generously by the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, Inc. © Dixon Gallery and Gardens | Memphis Web Design by Speak