Augusta Savage at work on The Harp, 1935 to 1845, displayed at the New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1940.

Augusta Savage at work on The Harp, 1935-1945, New York World's Fair (1939-1940).  Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Friday, October 12, 2018 to Sunday, April 28, 2019

Featuring nearly 50 works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and works on paper, this exhibition will be the first to reassess Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage’s contributions to art and cultural history in light of 21st-century attention to the concept of the artist-activist. The fully illustrated companion catalogue will present the most up-to-date scholarly research, reexamining Savage’s place in the history of American sculpture and positioning her as a leading figure who broke down the barriers she and her students encountered while seeking to participate fully in the art world.  

A gifted sculptor, Savage (1892 - 1962) was born in Green Cove Springs and later became a significant teacher, leader, and catalyst for change. Overcoming poverty, racism, and sexual discrimination, Savage became one of this country’s most influential artists of the 20th century, playing an instrumental role in the development of some of the most celebrated African American artists, including: William Artis, Romare Bearden, Gwendolyn Bennett, Robert Blackburn, Gwendolyn Knight, Jacob Lawrence, and Norman Lewis, whose works are also included in the exhibition. A prodigious and highly acclaimed artist in her own right, she created works that elevated images of black culture into mainstream America. A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, she worked with other leaders, writers, musicians, and artists to showcase the contributions of African American culture. As a community organizer and teacher, Savage created a bridge between the first generation of Harlem Renaissance artists and subsequent generations of artists.

Through this exhibition, the Museum will highlight the artistic, social, and historic impact of Savage who, despite how she transformed the artistic landscape, is deserving of greater national appreciation. Today, Savage is best know for The Harp, her commissioned sculpture for the 1939 World’s Fair, and is recognized in African American community as an educator and an important community leader. However, Savage’s artistic skill was widely acclaimed nationally and internationally during her lifetime, and a further examination of her artistic legacy is long overdue. This exhibition will introduce Savage as a pioneering artist and community organizer who helped shape artistic movements that changed the way artists represent the Black figure, using art as a form of activism. This exhibition has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sotheby’s Prize. 

The Guest Curator for this exhibition is Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D.

There are many ways you can help support the exhibition. 

By joining the Host Committee, you will be helping us to engage a broad spectrum of the community in presenting these works, while financially supporting the exhibition and related special programming. Host Committee membership begins at $1,250 and includes year-round benefits at the Museum at the Ponce de León Society level. Additional benefits are available for higher-level donors. Host Committee recognition will also include your name on printed materials, on the exhibition website page, and in the gallery.

Join the Host Committee


By making a gift between $500 and $1,249 to the exhibition, you will be an Exhibition Supporter, with your name included on printed materials, on the exhibition website page, and in the gallery.

Become an Exhibition Supporter


You may also choose to underwrite a class visit as part of our school tour program for $500 per class, or gift an exhibition catalogue to a school or museum library. Perhaps you would like to host a house party for the exhibition or volunteer at the Museum during exhibition events. You might also choose to stay informed about the exhibition by joining our mailing list. For further information about the host committee or other ways to be involved, please contact the Advancement Office at 904.899.6027.


Exhibition Planning & Community Advisory Committee: Carol Alexander; Dustin Harewood; Barbara Harrell; Marty Jones; Princess Simpson Rashid; James Richardson; and Adonnica Toler

Host Committee (to date): Dan and Cindy Edelman; Barbara and William Harrell; Dick and Marty Jones; Pam Paul and Hank Holbrook; Phil and Kitty Phillips; Ryan Schwartz; and Charles and Elli Zimmerman