Friends of the Museum Presents Major Exhibition and Symposium

UM Museum acquires Dunlap's 'Meditations on the Origins of Agriculture in America'

OXFORD, Miss. – Friends of the Museum presents “Meditations on the Landscape in Art and Literature,” an exhibition and symposium to celebrate the acquisition of artist William Dunlap’s “Meditations on the Origins of Agriculture in America.”

The exhibition will run at the University of Mississippi Museum from March 25 to July 27. Visitors can expect to see works from more than 40 artists alongside works of the exhibit’s curator, Dunlap. Artists include Sally Mann, Walter Anderson, John Alexander and Carlyle Wolfe.

A new exhibition at the UM Museum and a symposium on campus celebrate the acquisition of artist William Dunlap’s ‘Meditations on the Origins of Agriculture in America.’ Photo courtesy of UM Museum

“The idea for the exhibition was to provide a context for Bill’s painting/construction by presenting a variety of visual works of art – paintings and photographs – that we call landscapes,” said Dorothy Howorth, a former president of Friends of the Museum. “The symposium is an opportunity for artists, writers and curators to talk about their significance.”

An opening reception for the exhibit is set for 4-5:45 p.m. March 25 at the museum, followed by “The Lyrical Landscape,” a lecture by poet Natasha Trethewey, at 6 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

The symposium will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 26, with various panelists and presenters, including Dunlap, Mann, W. Ralph Eubanks, John Grisham, Julia Reed and Curtis Wilkie. These talks will examine the importance of the landscape and having a sense of place in literature and art.

“The panels of artists, writers and curators will be terrific,” Howorth said. “All of them are friends with Bill Dunlap, so they know his work and will bring insight and knowledge.”

Sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is recommended.

On the day of the symposium, a lunch will be held on the Walton-Young House lawn, just next door to the UM Museum, at 1 p.m. The cost to attend is $15. Later that day, an after-party begins at 5:30 p.m. at Saint Leo Lounge. The cost is $25, and space is limited.

Both the lunch and after-party require advance registration.

The acquisition of Dunlap’s artwork was supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, through the Avery B. Dille Jr. Fund for Art Acquisition, in memory of Avery B. Dille Sr., Katherine T. Dille and Avery B. Dille Jr.

Friends of the Museum and the artist contributed to the acquisition. Funding was partially provided through a grant from the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance with assistance from the National Park Service.

Friends of the Museum is sponsoring the exhibition, symposium and related activities.

“The UM Museum truly would not be where it is today without the support of the Friends; they have given $250,000 over the last two years, which is incredible!” said Kate Wallace, UM Museum membership, communications and event coordinator.

“These 19 individuals are truly passionate about art, the museum and Rowan Oak, the collection and our mission to reach the broader community,” she said. “This symposium will be another example of their hard work to bring awareness to the museum.”

For more information, including a full symposium schedule, and to register for the events, visit