Mother Tongue square

On view now through Aug. 20, Mother Tongue revolves around language — the centrality of language to families, its influence on our personal evolution, and how speech sparks creativity in other artistic media.

What does it mean to communicate? A new exhibition, Mother Tongue: The Language of Families, at the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA) shows how communication affects the way we see the world.

On view now through Aug. 20, Mother Tongue revolves around language — the centrality of language to families, its influence on our personal evolution, and how speech sparks creativity in other artistic media.

STMA’s West Gallery will feature Steffen Thomas’s art inspired by his Germanic roots and his literary influences. In this show, visitors will find paintings, drawings, and sculptures shaped by powerful prose and poetry from Goethe, Whitman, Lao Tzu, and others.

During the run of the show, STMA will host related events. The Father’s Day Poetry Workshop (suggested ages 8 and up) is on June 11 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Guest poet Josina Guess will teach how to express appreciation, love, and humor in an illustrated poem made for Dad. Josina is a poet, farmer, and senior writer for The Bitter Southerner based near Athens. Tickets are $10 and includes all materials and a guided tour of the museum.

Later this summer, the museum hosts a Spoken Word Night on Aug. 20 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Linqua Franqa, Christopher Martin, and returning guest poet Josina Guess will present an evening of powerful spoken word poetry performances. Linqua Franqa, a.k.a. Mariah Parker, is a Clarke County Commissioner, linguist, and hip hop artist rooted in Athens with a PhD in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia. Christopher Martin is a writer-in-residence for Georgia Writers and author of the poetry collection Firmament (Wandering Aengus Press, forthcoming 2023).

The Steffen Thomas Museum also invites fans of this exhibition to visit the sister show Mother Tongue: Expressions of Steffen Thomas at Oxford College at Emory University in Covington. Assistant Professor of German Language and Linguistics Dr. Dan Walter and his students interpreted German phrases written on select Steffen Thomas pieces. For those who appreciate Steffen Thomas, German culture, and how difficult it is to read someone else’s handwriting…this exhibition will be on view and open to the public in the Oxford College Library until Sept. 5.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, and the generous donations from STMA patrons.

The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, located at 4200 Bethany Rd in Buckhead, is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 6 and under.

For more information, go to www.steffenthomas.org or follow them on social media — facebook.com/steffenthomasmuseumofart on Facebook and @steffenthomasmuseum on Instagram.

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