Property of the People: The Foundations of the NCMA, 1924–1945

November 27, 2019—February 9, 2020
North Carolina Museum of Art

This exhibition examines the first 20 years of development of the Museum, when a group of public-spirited North Carolinians formed and shaped an organization whose purpose was to secure a state art museum in the capital city; to collect, preserve, and exhibit works of art, both old and new; and to stimulate interest in art, particularly among the rising generation. 

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They styled themselves the North Carolina Art Society, and throughout the late ʼ20s, ʼ30s, and early ʼ40s, through Depression, recovery, and the Second World War, these men and women pursued and ultimately achieved this mission—and under the leadership of one woman, Katherine Pendleton Arrington, “a formidable young widow from Warrenton.” This exhibition tells their story.

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

A collection of late-antique glass and paintings from the Phifer collection on display in the temporary State Art Museum, Agriculture Building, Raleigh, 1938.

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