Telfair Museums expands focus on art education with incoming Children's Art Museum at Jepson

·4 min read

Telfair Museums is pushing its "Telfair for All" strategic plan to new heights.

The museum has announced plans to open a Children's Art Museum (CAM) at the Jepson Center in spring 2023.

With the introduction of their free admission program in March and partnership with Live Oak Public Libraries that gives library cardholders the chance to visit the Telfair Museums for free with their membership, their overarching goal has been to broaden museum access for residents and tourists and make Telfair Museums a place for everyone.

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While the Jepson Center has displayed interactive children’s art exhibitions for years, the Children's Art Museum is the next building block in that vision, creating an entire space that will give children a chance to explore their creativity and enhance their learning.

"The Telfair Children’s Art Museum will address a significant need identified through our strategic planning process to provide an updated museum experience that offers our members, visitors and local school communities transformative learning experiences for all ages and styles of learning using modern technologies, immersive environments and low-tech and hands-on activities,” said Benjamin Simons, executive director and CEO of Telfair Museums.

A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.
A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.

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“The new Children's Art Museum will also serve as a major attraction for the thousands of visitors to our area, and for local families and school children seeking educational experiences that address the needs and expectations of contemporary audiences.”

Partnership with Fren Inc.

The museum has partnered with local design firm, Fren Inc., to transform the side of the Jepson Center facing W. Oglethorpe Ave., into the children's museum.

The Jepson Center has long been focused on blending art and technology, as evident by its slew of galleries and exhibitions that embrace the growing relationship between the two mediums, and Fren Inc. isn't new to the idea of creating a space that integrates arts with technology. The firm were the brains behind the Sunshine Park and Healing Garden at the Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital Of Savannah, which features an interactive digital wall, sensory playboat, musical instruments and flower garden.

Guests will enter the art museum through an informative tunnel gallery that serves as an entrance to state-of-the-art technology and activity stations. Other significant galleries include a family lounge, a toddler area and a suite of immersive and interactive spaces.

A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.
A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.

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Fren Inc. CEO Stephen Nottingham said the museum's central focus is art exploration, which will encourage children and visitors of all ages to dive into the art world through storytelling, digital and tactile interactions and immersive artscapes.

"Fren is ready to unite Telfair Museums with purposeful design and technology to create an extraordinary children’s art museum experience that will inspire the next generation of our future leaders and deliver outcomes that enrich Telfair Museums' visitor experience for the regional community and beyond,” Nottingham said.

Expanding art education

A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.
A rendering of the new Children’s Art Museum (CAM) Telfair Museums plans to open at the Jepson Center in 2023.

The Children's Art Museum is another signal that the popular trio of museums wants to not only act as a tourism destination but as a community gathering spot.

The museum, when completed, will be one of the few activity-driven spaces geared specifically toward children in the downtown area. And with Telfair Museum's readiness to jumpstart its field trip program after a slow down from the pandemic, the museum can serve as a tool for educators to expand learning and art education.

A group of Savannah students practices VTS learning at the Jepson Center.
A group of Savannah students practices VTS learning at the Jepson Center.

"At Telfair, we feel that it is essential to engage young people early on with works of art and creative activity by providing opportunities that help them learn how to look at art to build visual thinking skills, and that encourage them to explore their own creativity," said Harry DeLorme, the director of education and senior curator at Telfair Museums.

Laura Nwogu is the quality of life reporter for Savannah Morning News. Contact her at LNwogu@gannett.com. Twitter: @lauranwogu_

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Telfair Museums to open new Children’s Art Museum at Jepson Center