September 8, 2021

By September 08, 2021
Two people of color decorate a Christmas tree placed on the base of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue, covered in vibrant graffiti with phrases like "BLACK AND BROWN UNITY" and "TRUMP IS WACK."
Jason Cordon, left and Autumn Nazeer, right, decorate a Christmas tree placed on the base of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue on Sunday, December 13, 2020, in Richmond. Photo by Jacqueline Larma.
High Museum: Picturing the South on view through February 6
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Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, petitions to end her conservatorship

LOS ANGELES—After an extensive legal battle, Kentwood, Louisiana native James Parnell Spears filed a petition on September 7 to formally bring his daughter Britney Spears’s conservatorship to a close. This is a huge win for the pop star, who has expressed her desire for the arrangement to end and repeatedly asked for her father to be removed from his court-appointed position managing her estate. And according to her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, this is only the beginning of a larger investigation into how his client’s finances have been managed by her father over the last thirteen years.

“This filing represents a massive legal victory for Britney Spears, as well as vindication,” said Rosengartt. “Having exposed his misconduct and improper plan to hold his daughter hostage by trying to extract a multimillion-dollar settlement, Mr. Spears has now effectively surrendered. There is no settlement.” He added, “To the extent Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, he is incorrect and our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue.”


Organizers of Prospect New Orleans unsure of how Hurricane Ida will affect the timing and realization of Prospect.5

NEW ORLEANS—In a recent Instagram post, the arts initiative shared that plans regarding Prospect.5 remain in the air as the city recovers from the Category 4 Atlantic hurricane, the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to strike Louisiana on record. The opening date for the fifth iteration of the triennial was initially pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had an increasingly detrimental impact on Louisiana. In early August, the state Department of Health reported 2,421 people were in hospitals around the state with COVID-19, more than eight times the number hospitalized at the start of July.

Also included in a separate social media post from Prospect.5 was a list of organizations currently assisting communities in meeting their immediate needs, and that supporters can donate to, including Another Gulf is Possible, Trans Queer Youth — New Orleans, House of Tulip, Imagine Water Works, Krewe of Red Beans, and Cajun Navy Relief


Virginia Supreme Court rules for removal of Robert E. Lee monument

RICHMOND—The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a statue of Robert E. Lee that has stood in the state capital for more than a hundred years can be taken down. The ruling responded to two separate lawsuits seeking to protect the twenty-one-foot-high bronze sculpture, which looms over Richmond’s Monument Avenue from atop a forty-foot-high pedestal set inside a traffic circle.

Following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the Confederate monument, seen by many as symbolizing institutionalized racial injustice, became a flashpoint. Protesters quickly covered its base with graffiti and frequently used it as a support for banners decrying police brutality, with the state temporarily encircling the monument in a chain-link fence in an effort to keep demonstrators off the traffic circle. Ten days after Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, Virginia governor Ralph Northam pledged to have the twelve-ton statue removed.


Georgia Museum of Art receives major photography gift

ATHENS—The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia has received a gift of nearly 3,000 photographs with a current appraised value of nearly $8 million. The gift came from three sets of donors: J. Patrick (Pat) and Patricia A. Kennedy, of San Leandro, California; David Knaus, another California-based photography collector; and Michelle Melin-Rogovin, Milton Rogovin’s daughter-in-law, who donated prints by her father-in-law.


Liz Andrews is new executive director of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta

ATLANTA—Spelman College recently announced artist, curator, and museum professional Liz Andrews, Ph.D., as the new executive director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. A gifted museum professional at the intersection of the arts and social justice who has worked in colleges and arts organizations across the nation, Dr. Andrews began her new role on August 2, 2021.

Andrews is succeeding Andrea Barnwell Brownlee. After two decades at Spelman, Brownlee departed last December to become director and CEO of the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville, Florida. “I am honored to take on this role at such an exciting time for the arts at Spelman College and a moment of great change for museums, arts and culture,” says Dr. Andrews, who has spent the last five years as the executive administrator in the Director’s Office of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art increases base pay to $15/hour in a new strategic plan

KANSAS CITY—The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan that increased the base pay for employees to $15 an hour. As part of the plan, the museum also has completed a compensation analysis with the help of a professional firm “to ensure that staff members are fairly paid.” In addition to the base pay increase for hourly employees, the museum reported that all staff will receive a 3% salary or wage increase.

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