“Not trying to diminish (former directors) Myrna (Anderson-Fuller) or Leatrice (Ellzy Wright) – and I showed at Hammonds House and spoke there – but it’s pretty much the same old , the same old for years,” said multimedia artist Alfred Conteh. “Nothing that really shows what Hammonds House is regionally, nationally. (Karen Comer Lowe) was up to things that Hammonds House had never done before and never had the ability to do I see Hammonds House finally doing things that set it apart and to see it cut short I just can’t.
From an Instagram post by Deborah Willis, MacArthur Fellow and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts: “I’m saddened to read this, Karen. You have so much to offer the arts. I had hope for the future of Hammonds House when you were hired. I remember your early years and your big ideas back then. Kiss yourself, my daughter.
From an Instagram post: “I’m part of Team Karen!!!!” The Atlanta artist’s painting of a young black girl crying during protests against police killings of unarmed black people landed on a 2020 cover of Time magazine.
Leatrice Elzy Wright
“Success isn’t always about what’s on the walls,” said former Hammonds House executive director Leatrice Ellzy Wright. “What we were putting in place at Hammonds House was necessary. It’s still a working museum, but that’s how you boost the ability to earn money to complete the mission.
“Karen has had years of involvement with the arts in this community,” said artist Shanequa Gay, who had solo shows at Hammonds House and Chastain Arts Center in 2019. “She was more than prepared, molded and ready to take on the job at Hammonds House. I felt like Karen had a vision to revamp Hammonds House into a contemporary art space that would get national attention.
“Why doesn’t Atlanta, considered the mecca of black people and a benchmark for the hip-hop community, have a great African-American museum? If Karen answered that question, why did you cut it short? said Gay.
“I have been aware of the struggles of Hammonds House for 20 years and the hiring of Karen signaled that Hammonds House was trying to reorganize and revive itself,” said conceptual artist, art historian and curator Fahamu Pecou , whose work has been the subject of a solo. exhibition at the High Museum of Art. “What kind of message does this send to the wider arts community to do this kind of backtracking? What was Karen if she wasn’t new management? She has a network of artistic leaders across the country that she could have tapped into to innovate and come up with new shows, new ways of presenting.
“It wasn’t about Karen,” said Imara Canady, who served as chairwoman of the Hammonds House board for nearly a decade. “Karen happened to be in a position that was eliminated with respect to this new model.”
Dr. Hammond’s collection “hasn’t been random. There was a common thread running through every room. And the pieces have increased value because they’re part of the collection,” said Hardy, founder of Hardy & Halpern, Inc., which appraised the collection in 2004. “He had an eye for supporting and developing local and national artists in their genius, those with excellent potential and those with marginal potential that he knew could flourish. He encouraged them to try all mediums to find the right one.
“You don’t just summarily fire someone like that. It’s completely unprofessional and disrespectful to an artist and it’s brutal to Karen,” said Brenda Locke, the widow of artist Donald Locke, whose ‘Southern Mansions’ series was due to open at Hammonds House on February 11. museum, well that’s not how a museum works.”
Sheila Pree Bright
“When I heard about Karen coming in, I was so excited because I know her vision of what she could bring. She was trying to build that credibility to bring in international artists and then emerging artists and I don’t see how [the board] I can’t see that,” said Pree Bright, whose work is currently featured in the High Museum’s exhibition “Pictureting the South: 25 Years.”
“The Death of Hammonds House. That’s what it could be.