“Metro Montage” Then and Now: Celebrating 20 Years of Tradition and Change

By Elizabeth Mangone, MCMA Curatorial Intern, Summer 2020

The Marietta Cobb Museum of Art is proud to present the twentieth annual Metro Montage Exhibition this year. The exhibition will be on display from July 11th through September 6th, 2020. The annual juried exhibition, which started in 2001, originally got its name from the fact that it was a montage of artistic styles and media from artists in the metro Atlanta area. Since then, however, the exhibition has expanded to include artists from all across the United States. Some artists are new to the exhibition, while others have been involved since the beginning. Today’s blog will highlight the experiences of long-time exhibitioners and museum staff as they reflect on what makes Metro Montage special.

Over the course of twenty years the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art has exhibited hundreds of artists in the annual Metro Montage exhibition. Some have been chosen to exhibit multiple times over the course of Metro Montage history, and are therefore able to speak to how the exhibition has grown and changed. Melanie Eberhardt, who was an artist in the second annual Metro Montage as well as being an artist in this year’s exhibition, says that Metro Montage “has certainly evolved since 2002.” She especially noted that the expansion of social media promotion and inclusion of activities like the meet-the-artist open house (“Demo Day”) have improved the event. Rod Kaye, who also exhibited in 2002 and is featured in this year’s exhibition, says that he always looks forward to this exhibition and enjoys that “it still attracts many of the region’s top artists in all mediums.” Junko Rothwell, also in this year’s exhibition, says that her favorite memory is when she was first accepted into Metro Montage in 2001: “I was so pleased to show my paintings at the [Marietta Cobb] Museum.”

(Melanie Eberhardt’s 6 Minglers featured in "Metro Montage" 2009)
(Junko Rothwell’s Aqua Kimono featured in "Metro Montage" 2011)
(Rod Kaye’s Coming and Going featured in "Metro Montage" 2017)

Many of the Museum’s staff also have fond memories of Metro Montage. Jennifer Fox, the Director of Operations, says that Metro Montage has improved every year that she’s been at the museum. “I personally love that we are able to feature a true ‘montage’ of medium, subject matter, genre, and artistic styles…There is something for every individual to be inspired by and/or fall in love with in this exhibition.”

Madeline Beck, the Museum’s curator since 2017, first worked on the Metro Montage exhibition when she was still an intern in 2015. Because of her changing role at the museum over the years she has had the opportunity to see the exhibition from all angles, and describes it as “beloved, dynamic, and exciting.” Her favorite change to the Metro Montage tradition is one that happened just this year: artwork has been hung on both floors rather than just the lower galleries. “We got to accept dozens more pieces of art, which allowed us to explore art and artists that are outside our comfort zone and give more artists the opportunity to exhibit their work.” She’s also excited about the prospect that hanging through the whole museum could become the future standard.

As a curatorial intern at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, I was delighted at the opportunity to work on the Metro Montage exhibition. I am both an artist myself and interested in a curatorial career, so this exhibition presented an unrivalled opportunity to get a sense of the depth and breadth of contemporary American art. I’ve had an amazing time interacting with artists, learning how to place and hang artwork, and showing off the exhibit to family and friends. It is an absolutely amazing exhibit both to work on and walk through!           

The Marietta Cobb Museum of Art hopes that you will enjoy this year’s Metro Montage exhibition either at the Museum or through our virtual gallery tour.