5/8/2019 3:34:00 AM

The Butterfly Effect: Honoring the Legacy of Gay Burke

 Montgomery, ALA - The Alabama State Council on the Arts is showcasing the work of the late Gay Burke and the students she inspired during her tenure at the University of Alabama. As a photographer and professor of art, Gay Burke, helped shape the photography program at the UA over the course of her four decade tenure. Burke was the first female full professor in the University’s Department of Art and Art History. She retired in 2015 and died on May 1, 2017.

Wayne Sides, a former student of Burke and photographer, calls her the “Mother of Alabama Art Photography” and argues that she is changing opinions about the artistic merits of photography throughout the South.  Burke’s works are in the collections of museums like the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She touched the lives of photographers like Walker Evans, William Christenberry, and Miller Mobley, the youngest photographer to shoot a Time magazine cover.

 She was well-known for her exceptional teaching skills and nurtured many students. She helped students establish their careers, either as teachers or as practicing artists. Her kindness, sense of humor, and laugh were considered infectious by those who knew her.

The University of Alabama Gallery and the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa presented exhibitions in her honor. The first was a semi-retrospective exhibition of Burke’s work and the other was a show of her students’ works. Both exhibitions were co-curated by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. This exhibition is comprised of elements of these two exhibitions, and includes works recently acquired from the Burke estate. 

The exhibit is on display in the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery through July 31st, 2019. The gallery is operated by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and is free and open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The gallery is located on the first floor of the RSA Tower, located in downtown Montgomery at 201 Monroe Street.

For Additional information, please contact: Amy Williamson at (334) 242-5150 or by email at amy.williamson@arts.alabama.gov