Originally constructed for Elizabeth Napier, the building was selected for a House & Garden Award in Architecture in 1939. Georgia College President Dorothy Leland will host the building’s dedication at 6:30 p.m. Sunday as part of the university’s Homecoming and Alumni Weekend events.
"We are fortunate to be able to house the university’s permanent art collection in this historic home which is art in itself,” said President Leland. “We look forward to both preserving this notable home created by one of America’s greatest architects, and providing the university and community with an important venue for art exhibition.”
In a career that spanned from 1912 to 1968, Shutze produced more than 750 architectural works, including elegant private homes and noteworthy schools, churches and commercial buildings. As a student, Shutze traveled Europe, immersing himself in the great buildings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He painstakingly measured those buildings as well as the monuments of the Roman Empire, committing the smallest of details to paper and to memory. He later devoted his attention to techniques for instantly aging building facades.
Returning to the United States in 1920, Shutze worked in New York, helping design townhouses for such families as the Astors, Morgans, and Vanderbilts. Within a few years he returned to Georgia to design some of the most beautiful buildings ever to grace the American landscape.
The Georgia College Foundation acquired the historic Milledgeville home in 2008 from its owner, Lucy Underwood, a former faculty member of the school’s music department. The foundation then gifted the property to the university.
In its new role as the Georgia College Museum of Fine Arts, it will open with three exhibitions that include art created by Georgia College alumni; drawings created by Ken Procter, Dean of the university’s College of Arts & Sciences; and the senior thesis work of the late Carol Chaklos, a Georgia College student who completed her coursework after being seriously injured in a car crash. She was awarded her degree posthumously in 2007 after succumbing to her injuries before graduation.
Eventually, the Fine Arts Museum will house the university’s permanent art collection, featuring works that date from the early 1800’s through today. Professor Bill Fisher, Chair of the university’s art department, is currently working with art professor Carlos Herrera to inventory and review the pieces in the permanent collection which will be available for display.