Friends of the Museum’s Annual Harvest Supper

Harvest Supper, Friends of the Museum annual fundraiser. Set on the grounds of Rowan Oak, the event benefits University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses.

Annual Harvest Supper at Rowan Oak

The Friends of the Museum is a volunteer organization that supports museum fundraising, advocacy and special programing. Harvest Supper, hosted by the Friends, prides itself on being a showcase of local and regional artists, musicians, and chefs. Annually, the event connects alumni, local residents, and out-of-town guests with artists, writers, and musicians for dinner and entertainment on the historic grounds of Rowan Oak, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, in Oxford, Mississippi.

The generosity of sponsors, ticket sales, and art auction proceeds enable the Friends to target specific museum needs to enrich the overall museum experience. Repeatedly named as one of the top college museums in the nation, the UM Museum hosts visitors from all 50 states, as well as 58 countries. In addition, the museum’s educational programming reaches more than 10,000 North Mississippi students and children each year. 

Through Harvest Supper, the Friends has been able to give more than $100,000 annually to the museum, most of which comes from sponsorships. To learn more about Harvest Supper sponsorship opportunities, click here. 

Harvest Supper 2018 will be Thursday, October 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Click Here for 2018 event information and Here for online art auction information and bidding. 

Interested in past Harvest Suppers? See below. 


Individuals, businesses and other organizations became Harvest Supper sponsors at these levels:

  • Presenting Level: $10,000 and up
  • Platinum Level: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Gold Level: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Silver Level: $1,000 to $2,500
  • Bronze Level: $500 to $1,000

Sponsors were listed on 550+ event invitations mailed in August as well as included on the website, and other communications about the event. The various sponsorship levels also guaranteed tickets to the Harvest Supper, admission passes to Rowan Oak, membership to the University Museum and much more. For information on becoming a sponsor for the 2018 Harvest Supper, please email the museum.

Proceeds from the evening will help support numerous aspects of the University Museum, including acquisitions, the Conversations guest lecture series, exhibitions, educational programming and special events. The event also supports maintenance and operating costs for Rowan Oak and the Walton-Young Historic House, also managed by the museum.


New Grants for Museum Community Outreach

During the Fall, the Museum’s Education Department was awarded two grants: an award of $899 from the Mississippi Humanities Council for Faulkner’s Rowan Oak Traveling Trunk and a grant of $3,993 from the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT) to create an interactive educational area within the Museum’s classroom spaces to facilitate discovery and exploration for young visitors to the Museum.

Faulkner’s Rowan Oak Traveling Trunk is our first non-art trunk, as it concentrates on the literature of Faulkner and promoting Rowan Oak. It includes classroom sets (35) of two Faulkner short stories (Barn Burning and A Rose for Emily), and is the first trunk designed for high schoolers. The highlight of the trunk is a 1918 typewriter that is similar to one that Faulkner used.  This program is financially assisted by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.

The LOFT foundation is a widely respected community organization under the CREATE Foundation umbrella with a deep commitment to supporting local efforts to improve the quality of life and opportunity in Oxford and Lafayette County. While the Museum serves children and families through regular programming, we wanted to expand the opportunities for families visiting the Museum independently and make the Museum a highly accessible place for independent learning. This proposal was generously co-sponsored with a $500 donation from the Friends of the Museum to support the production of Family Learning Guides for young learners visiting the Museum. We look forward to undertaking this project and creating new ways for families to experience the Museum.

University Museum Ranked Among 20 Best College Art Museums

news17Complex Art & Design website praises breadth of museum’s collections, community ties

Citing how the museum balances “their dedication to the local community with a commitment to expanding students’ world views,” the Complex Art & Design website has put the University of Mississippi Museum at No. 17 on its list of the 20 Best College Art Museums.

The ranking puts the University Museum ahead of the Yale University Art Gallery and in the company of campus museums at Harvard, Howard and Princeton universities.

“Inclusion in national recognition of this nature provides a wide range of benefits to museums, from morale-building and wider funding opportunities, to enhanced exhibition and program partnership opportunities with peer institutions,” said Robert Saarnio, University Museum director. “This honor comes at a time when we are dynamically expanding our exhibitions, programs, and educational impacts. On behalf of the entire museum staff, and all of the museum’s many supporters and friends, I express our gratitude and our sincere pleasure at this news.”

On Loan: Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Untitled (Abstraction, Lake George) traveled to the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York to be part of an exhibition titled, Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George,  that will also travel to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and the deYoung Museum in San Francisco.


“This intriguing painting in the collection of the University of Mississippi Museum may have been inspired by a forest fire Georgia O’Keeffe witnessed during her first summer at Lake George in 1918. While it appears, at first glance, to be a wholly abstract or a non-objective composition, the central conical shape of brilliant orange is evocative of fiery flames encircled by the blue sky. Although O’Keeffe rarely addressed natural phenomena in her work, her response to the occurrence of fires and storms was a unique feature of her Lake George years. Part abstraction, part evocation, this intriguing image greatly enhances our understanding of O’Keeffe’s initial response to the dramatic atmosphere at Lake George,” said Chief Curator Erin B. Coe at the The Hyde Collection.

The painting will return in late Spring 2014. We are excited to be a part of an exhibition of such beautiful and interesting paintings depicting the influence and long relationship O’Keeffe had with Lake George.On Loan 

Museum Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach programs
are reaching unprecedented numbers
of children and families!

news6A museum visit can have a truly profound impact on a young learner’s view of the world,art, and history.At the University Museum, our educational programming is designed to transport audiences to ancient civilizations, introduce viewers of all ages to art, and create memorable experiences. In the past year, the Museum’s programs have expanded and developed, offering new creative opportunities for children as young as the age of two exploring the galleries with their parents or grandparents in our Mini Masters program.

Of the many programs at the Museum, our Traveling Trunk and Outreach programs have experienced the most growth. Through valued community partnerships like that with Leap Frog After School program and our free traveling trunk program for schools and organizations, we are able to offer free outreach programming to at-risk students.


We have also formed a new partnership with the Scott Center special needs students, and it is a joy to be able to share our collections and see people of all different abilities connect with our collections in new and diverse ways. As of October 2013, our Outreach programs had already reached over 8,000 students this year alone. The key to the success of these programs has been forming connections and partnerships with teachers, and we are proud that now through our partnership with the UM-Tupelo campus more Tupelo teachers are benefiting from our trunk program as well!


In addition to regular Family Activity Days, we want the Museum to be a place for adults and young children to explore together on their own. The Museum has just received generous funding from the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow to create an Interactive Education Area and additional funds from the Friends of the Museum for a Family Learning Guide throughout the galleries. This project is one that we hope will make the museum a more accessible and engaging place for families
with children of all ages.

The Wellspring: Works by Hamlett Dobbins

Originally using legos to bring his imagination to life, Hamlett Dobbins news1
transitioned to paint as a means for creative expression. Dobbins’s newest exhibition, The Wellspring, at the University of Mississippi Museum is a collection of paintings that draw specifically from a diverse set of experiences with his two children, Milla (aka M.R.M.) and Ives (aka I.V.).  The paintings span a number of years and reflect different stages of their rich relationships.

“The University Museum is exceptionally pleased to present these remarkable paintings by a very talented artist whose career has taken him this year to a Rome Prize Fellowship.
We are thrilled to anticipate Hamlett’s return from Italy in December, to discuss these works with our audiences,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there was an Opening Reception on Thursday, November 14, 2013.
An artist’s lecture will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, from noon to 1:00 PM.  These events are free and open to the public.

news2A native of Tennessee, Hamlett Dobbins has spent most of his life in Memphis. He received his BFA from the University of Memphis in 1993 and went on to receive his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. After completing his graduate studies, Dobbins moved to Memphis where he worked as a curator for Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts while teaching at the University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, and at Memphis College of Art. In 2000, he received a fellowship for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, as well as a three-month residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska. Since 2001, Dobbins has worked at Rhodes College as an instructor and as the director for the Clough-Hanson Gallery where he has curated shows with Thomas Nozkowski, Roe Ethridge, Jon Haddock, Radcliffe Bailey, and Nikki S. Lee.  This year Dobbins is a fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Recollecting: 1980-2012, Works by Ron Dale

Ron DAle

Growing up in Asheville, North Carolina, Ron Dale was exposed to the annual exhibitions of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild. Watching a potter throw pots, transforming wet smooth clay into a shaped vessel was magic to Dale. This sparked his interest in ceramics, and he began his journey as an artist in the 1970s. Recollecting: 1980-2012, Works by Ron Dale showcases the Oxford artist’s works in ceramics and mixed media spanning over 20 years.

Ron Dale

“My sculptural work has evolved out of the traditional vocabulary of the vessel. Combined with architectural and furniture imagery, I am able to explore concepts of altered space and perspective, light and shadow and the flattening of form while allowing for a more direct expression of ideas—ideas dealing with both social and personal issues. I view them as three-dimensional paintings—images, color and texture layered one on top of the other. I often use suggested “mirrors” to reflect space as a means
of enveloping the viewer, placing him/her in a particular environment.
In recent years I have used the frame as an integral element in these constructions,” Dale stated.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there was an artist’s lecture on September 17, 2013.  The Museum’s Annual Membership Party, held October 10, 2013, celebrated and highlighted Ron Dale’s career in ceramics.

Ron Dale “The University Museum is extraordinarily pleased and proud to be the presenting venue for Recollecting 1980 – 2013,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio. “With every passing day we watched in a state of growing awe as Ron has installed these intelligent, playful, and dramatic works. We encourage our entire community to help us celebrate the career of this leading figure in contemporary American ceramic arts.”

Dale obtained his B.A. at Goddard College and his M.F.A. at Louisiana State University. Before teaching at the University of Mississippi, Dale taught at the Penland School of Craft in Penland, North Carolina, and at the Cortona, Italy study abroad program with the University of Georgia.  He joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi in 1980 and retired as Emeritus Professor of Art in 2005. Currently, Dale owns and runs Irondale Studio, which was built in 1995.

This exhibition will run until January 11, 2014.