Auburn is proud to be home to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art (JCSM). With many charming restaurants, cocktail bars, coffee shops and more, Auburn has always been a fun place to live and visit. However, it’s places like the JCSM that give the town its unique artistic flair. We highlighted everything you need to know about this ~Jule~ of Auburn.
History of the JCSM
In 1948, Auburn University acquired 36 paintings in the auction of an exhibition done by the Advancing American Art Collection. The exhibition was halted due to tax issues and sold off as surplus property. Over the years, the University continued to collect and grow in the arts.
Then, in October of 2003, the University opened the JCSM after a generous $3M donation from a man named Albert Smith. Mr. Smith donated the money as a 50th wedding anniversary gift to his wife (and namesake for the art museum) Jule Collins Smith.
Mr. Smith sure did set the bar high for men’s gift giving…
Now, the museum owns a permanent collection with art from artists as renowned as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Georgia O’Keeffe. They are dedicated to furthering Auburn education through their displays. In fact, the JCSM is actually the only accredited fine arts museum in the state of Alabama, right here in Auburn.
The JCSM has 6 exhibition galleries and a total indoor space of 40,000 square feet. They currently have 4 large exhibitions on display for folks to come enjoy in a socially distanced manner. Here is a look into what you’ll find in the museum right now:
- Bernini and the Roman Baroque: Masterpieces from Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia
- Outside In
- Lila Quintero Weaver: Darkroom Drawings
- TenSeventyTwo: A Campaign for Conserving and Collecting Art
They usually switch the exhibitions to display something new every semester or so. Come check out the Baroque and Quintero exhibitions while they are still up until May 30th. Some of my favorite exhibitions from the past, include the French Poster Art display (pictured above) and the Impressionism room. It will be very interesting to see what displays come next in The Jule.
Other things and events
It does not end there though- there is much more! The outside of the museum is just as beautiful as the inside. You can walk around the perimeters of the JCSM and find many stunning sculptures to gaze at. You can even walk straight into some of them. There is a lovely walking trail around the entire lake that takes you to each sculpture.
Back inside the museum, there is a neat little gift shop with anything you could need as a souvenir. The museum also has a cafe called Luster that was open for lunch and coffee, but due to COVID-19 restrictions they have put the service on hold until further notice. They also have an auditorium inside that hosts speakers for informational sessions. There are multiple upcoming opportunities to join an interactive zoom with a guest speaker, and you can find more information on their website.
Plan Your Trip to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
The JCSM is also a popular spot for wedding receptions and other various events. They have an entire event planning staff and crew that does amazing work, so contact them for any upcoming events you may have.
They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, with extended hours until 8 PM on Thursdays.
- Address: 901 South College Street, Auburn AL 36849
- Contact: 334.844.1484 | Website | Facebook | Instagram