News & Stories
February 28, 2024

Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum Hosts The Art of Steffen Thomas

Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum is thrilled to announce its upcoming exhibit, "Prolific and Experimental: The Art of Steffen Thomas," featuring over 20 works of sculpture, paintings, and etchings.

The works from the collections of The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art and the artist’s family will be on display from March 11 to June 8, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the artistic legacy of Thomas and its connection to visionary educator Martha Berry.

“We're excited to be collaborating with everyone at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum and Berry College to tell the larger story of Steffen Thomas in a place so meaningful and connected to Steffen's life and art.” said Alyson Vuley, director of the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art.

Thomas immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century and settled in Atlanta. His early career focused on commissioned sculptures, often of influential Southerners such as Berry, the founder of Berry College. However, he became increasingly more expressive in his art, blending classical and modernist influences and sampling mediums such as painting and printmaking.

Thomas touched on themes of identity, nature, and social responsibility, and his personal credo, “This world is too small for less than brotherhood, too dangerous for less than truth” drove much of his later work.

Through "Prolific and Experimental," Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum celebrates Thomas' boundless creativity and innovation. The exhibition showcases a diverse selection of his sculptures, paintings, and a never-before-displayed drawing of Martha Freeman, a servant in the Berry family household and lifelong friend of Martha Berry.

“We learned from the Thomas family that Steffen Thomas and his portrait subjects [Martha Berry and Martha Freeman] became friends as a result of the sculpture commissioned by Martha Berry. It is exciting to share the full picture of the artist that so thoughtfully captured the likeness of two of our Berry heroines,” said Rachel McLucas, Curator of Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum.

The timing of this exhibition coincides with a public screening of the documentary “Steffen Thomas: Rock and Chisel," followed by a Q&A at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum on March 21, at 6:30 p.m.. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at Thomas' artistic process, providing viewers with a deeper understanding of his creative journey and the inspiration behind his remarkable body of work. Several of the artworks highlighted in the film will be on view in the exhibit. Additional information will be released closer to the event date.

This exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information on our special exhibits, please visit more information? Contact Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum at 706-368-6789 or and visit Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art is located in Atlanta. To learn more, contact 706-342-7557 or visit


Written by Student Communications Manager Emma-Louise Ramus

Office of Public Relations

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