Martha R. Severens is Retiring From the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, SC

We were first sent this news by an old friend in Greenville, SC, and then confirmed it by reading an article in the Greenville News and then making contact with the Greenville County Museum of Art. After 17 years as curator at the Museum, Severens and her husband Kenneth will do some well deserved traveling.

Linda and I knew Martha and Kenneth when they were in Charleston, SC, long before we started doing an arts newspaper – Martha was curator at the Gibbes Museum of Art and we worked with Kenneth processing black and white photos for his books on Southern architecture. We did photo processing for the Gibbes too. That was during our life as custom photo processors before publishing newspapers.

At some point a change was being made at the Gibbes and I think Martha Severens and Paul Figueroa were both up for the directors job and Figueroa got the job. Severens moved on to take a job as curator of the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, but in 1992, came back to South Carolina to take a job as curator at the Greenville County Museum of Art. That was probably during a time when folks in South Carolina couldn’t imagine a woman being director of a major museum. Now women directors are the norm.

Severens is the author of The Greenville County Museum of Art: The Southern Collection, issued in 1995. She has written books on Andrew Wyeth, The Charleston Renaissance, and a series of articles on the Museum’s collection, which have appeared in American Art Review, a national publication.

Severens will be leaving the South Carolina Museum community with a lot of knowledge and experience, and will be hard to replace, but all good things come to an end and she and her husband deserve their time to travel. And, who knows – she may still have a few books planned.

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