by Jana Riley
Known primarily as the founder of Morris Communications, former publisher of The Augusta Chronicle, William S. Morris III holds a deep fondness for the city and the surrounding areas, as well as an affection for the works of Southern artists, who depict scenes at once familiar and novel to any resident Southerner. Thanks to his passion for art, Augusta is home to one of the River Region’s leading cultural institutions, the Morris Museum of Art.
He established the Morris Museum of Art, the first art museum to exist in Augusta. The museum officially opened in September of 1992, attracting over 10,000 visitors in the first two months.
"The Morris," as locals refer to it, currently boasts a collection of more than 5,000 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures dating from the late-eighteenth century to the present, though only around five percent of its holdings are on display at any given time.
Just two blocks from Broad Street and adjacent to Augusta's Riverwalk and the Savannah River, the museum is the third largest collection of Southern art in the world. Countless variations of subject matter, themes, and styles are represented within the museum's highly curated collection. The museum also hosts eight to ten temporary special exhibitions annually, ensuring that all who appreciate art can find something eye-catching and interesting to gaze upon.
Additionally, the museum offers an ambitious array of programs including storytelling sessions, conversations with artists, art-making workshops, film programs, book signings, toddler activities, lectures, gallery talks, and readings, and more. A genuine local treasure, the Morris Museum of Art is a product of the marriage of thousands of artists, countless years, one dedicated businessman and passionate Southerner, and a genuine love for the South running through it all, making the museum a most perfect place to discover the local flavor.
The first Sunday of each month, the museum hosts a themed afternoon of free fun that includes storytelling, artistic demonstrations, crafts and more.
These monthly interactive tours and themed craft projects are a favorite for weekday family fun. And registration is only $4 per person.
The first Friday of each month, the museum screens a classic film and hosts a thought-provoking post-movie discussion.
Musicians from Augusta's River Region and beyond give free live performances at the museum each month on select Sundays.