Every year, the museum presents its Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Award to a living African American visual artist with a significant Georgia connection. Known nationally for their advocacy of African American art and artists, the Thompsons endowed a curatorial position at the museum and donated works aimed at supporting the museum’s mission of diversity and inclusion in American art. Past recipients include Stefanie Jackson, Lou Stovall, Kevin Cole and Leo Twiggs.
The 2024 award acknowledges sculptor Curtis Patterson. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, as one of five siblings, Patterson grew up during the segregation era, but he persisted in expressing himself through art. He began exploring his talents as an artist in high school, then attended Grambling State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in arts education. He also attended Georgia State University in Atlanta and became the first African American to receive a master of visual arts in sculpture there.
Early in his career Patterson made paintings and worked in wood and ceramics. His interests then shifted to cast iron, fabricated steel, and large-scale ceramic works. His sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. In 1977, the City of Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs commissioned him to produce “Cometh the Sun,” in Gordon White Park. More commissions followed for public sculpture in Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; St. Paul, Minnesota; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Dallas, Texas. The artist currently maintains a studio in Atlanta, Georgia. He will receive the award at the museum on March 22. Visit Georgiamuseum.org for more information about the event.