SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College and the Johnson Collection of Southern art, maintained in downtown Spartanburg, will launch the collection’s new “Voices in American Art” lecture series Thursday, Feb. 6, with a visit and presentation from Sarah Cash, the Bechhoefer Curator of American Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Cash will speak at 7 p.m. in Leonard Auditorium in Main Building on Wofford’s campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. 

“The Johnson Collection, a comprehensive and important repository of Southern art, offers a unique opportunity to understand the way that the South has participated in the larger dialogue of American art,” says Dr. Karen H. Goodchild, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Wofford. “While the works in the collection often reflect larger national trends, the art of the South also communicates nuanced and important historic and aesthetic information unique to its genesis. Wofford students have been very fortunate to be able to work with and to study the Johnson Collection, and now will benefit from this lecture series on American art.” 

The Johnson Collection offers an extensive survey of artistic activity in the American South from the late 18th century to the present day. Established in 2002 by the Johnsons, the collection has grown to encompass more than 1,000 objects that chronicle the cultural evolution of the American South. Each year, the collection sponsors curatorial internships to art history students at Wofford and Converse College. 

Through Wofford’s relationship with the Johnson Collection and its founders, philanthropists Susu and George Dean Johnson Jr., a 1964 graduate of Wofford, students have been exposed to the gallery’s offerings, and a number of art history students have been able to be curatorial interns for the collection. 

The lecture series was created to support the Johnson Collection’s mission to increase understanding of the dynamic role that art of the South plays in the larger context of national history.

During her visit to Spartanburg next week, Cash will work with local college students interested in pursuing careers in the arts before delivering her evening presentation titled “Encouraging American Genius: The Case for American Art.”

A frequent lecturer and award-winning author, Cash is responsible for the Corcoran Gallery’s world-renowned collection of American paintings, sculpture and works on paper dating from 1715 to 1945. She completed the first scholarly catalogue of the Corcoran’s collection of American paintings in more than 40 years, “Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945,” which was published in March 2011.

Cash has organized several major traveling exhibitions, including “Sargent and the Sea” as well as the loan exhibitions “Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms: Paintings that Inspired a Nation” (2004) and “Albert Bierstadt’s California Scenery, Sunset View” (2003), and numerous exhibitions from the Corcoran’s permanent collection. In September 2013, she oversaw a major reinstallation of the Corcoran’s American paintings and sculpture permanent collection galleries.

Prior to arriving at the Corcoran in 1998, Cash served as director of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and assistant curator at the Amon Carter Museum. She also has held positions at the National Gallery of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery. She received her B.A. in art history from Smith College and an M.A. from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. She is a graduate of the Museum Management Institute in Berkeley, Calif., a program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. In early 2014, she will be a fellow in the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

The Johnson Collection’s first book, “Romantic Spirits: Nineteenth Century Paintings of the South,” was released in November 2012. A companion exhibition of 35 paintings is on view at the historic Gibbes Museum in Charleston, S.C., the second venue in a three-year tour to leading museums across the Southeast.

TJC Gallery, located at 154 W. Main St. in downtown Spartanburg, is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m. Gallery hours are extended on the third Thursday of each month for Spartanburg Art Walks. TJC Gallery sponsors regularly rotating exhibitions to which the public is invited without charge.

For more information about the “Voices in American Art” event or the Johnson Collection’s other initiatives, contact Lynne Blackman, public relations coordinator, at 864-594-5821 or For more about the Johnson Collection, visit