Sutton Rose Southern Series Exhibition Opens at GMA Gallery Sept. 9

August 3, 2023

Visitors to the Gallery of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture will experience a unique exhibition this fall, one that weaves writings of rural living with oil paintings of the South, both done by the same artist/author.

GMA Curator Polly Huff will showcase this pairing of storytelling and artistry in the newest Gallery exhibit, “Brenda Sutton Rose: The Southern Series”.

“This exhibition will tell a nostalgic story of rural Georgia living,” Huff said. “Brenda Sutton Rose is a uniquely and multi-talented Tifton treasure. I am thrilled to curate and celebrate both her incredible artistic talent as an oil painter, but also her writing, the two woven together like the fibers of a warm and familiar vintage coverlet.”
The exhibit will open at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 9 with a Georgia-grown reception hosted by ABAC’s Chef Jay Johnson featuring locally sourced treats depicted in some of the paintings and stories.

At 6 p.m., the artist/author will give an informal gallery talk. Afterwards, Sutton Rose and Huff will lead guided gallery tours until 7:30 p.m.

“To honor the stories told, we worked with local frame master Mike Ellis, who built custom frames for this exhibition out of reclaimed old barnwood,” Huff said. “This exhibit has been 18 years in the making, and I am thrilled to be the first museum curator to have access to both avenues of Brenda’s work for this one-woman show. Many of the excerpts which will be a part of this exhibition have been published as short stories, and many explore actual historic events which took place in the Tift area. Brenda has lived the South, and the land she writes about and paints lives within her.”

“Although I’ve taken art lessons from numerous established artists, I consider myself to be a self-taught oil painter,” said Sutton Rose. “After 18 years of intensive and dedicated self-learning, of following my heart while inside my art studio, a paintbrush in my hand, my intention as a mature artist is to create something deep and soulful, something that sweeps the viewer from within and pulls them into the colors, and ultimately, into the story.”

For one of the paintings which tells the story of baptisms at the Whiddon Mill Pond in the 1940s, Sutton Rose worked with a local pastor whose church baptized congregants in those waters. The pastor of Mt. Zion Church provided records of the church’s baptism records from 1947 to assist the artist in telling the story.

Shekanah Dean, a junior Writing and Communication major from Tifton, served as the lead intern on this project, and Frances Nelson, an 11th grader from Tiftarea Academy in Chula was the project’s junior intern. Dean and Nelson spent the summer assisting the GMA Gallery in the curation of this unique exhibition and were especially instrumental in giving a digital voice to the stories and paintings, as well as designing and editing the interpretive content, according to Huff.

After the September 9 opening night, admission to this exhibit is included in daily GMA admission, and is free with a valid GMA annual pass. The exhibit will remain on display until Dec. 15.

Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. -3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Many of the pieces showcased will be available for sale.

Admission and annual passes can be purchased from the GMA Country Store. For more information on this and future exhibitions, interested parties can contact Huff at