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The Art of William Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience

September 24, 2022 - January 22, 2023

William O. Golding, Cheefoo, China, 1939. Pencil and crayon on paper. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.

Organized by Harry DeLorme, the senior curator of Savannah’s Telfair Museums, the exhibition is the first large-scale museum survey ever undertaken of the work of William O. Golding (1874–1943), an African American seaman and late-life artist who recorded a half-century of maritime experience in vibrant, imaginative drawings. After a lifetime spent traveling the world as a merchant seaman, Golding, his health failing, was confined to the United States Marine Hospital in Savannah, where he was encouraged to record his unique experiences and adventures in the colorful and expressive pencil and crayon drawings, combining personal memories with sailors’ lore, that are on display. At a time when the vast majority of Americans lived their whole lives within 50 miles of the place where they were born, Golding circumnavigated the globe 8 times and saw things that most people only dream of. There are 72 of his drawings in the exhibition (of the 100 he was thought to have produced), including work from the permanent collections of the Morris Museum of Art, the Telfair Museums of Savannah, and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, as well as private collections.

The seventy-two works in this exhibition include twenty-nine from the Morris Museum’s collection and twenty-three from the Telfair Museums’ collection, as well as loans from the Georgia Museum of Art and private collections. Organized by the Telfair Museums, the exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog, the first devoted to the artist.


Sail away to the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA to experience The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience, September 24, 2022–January 22, 2023, through our Sailors Package! Receive FREE admission, discounted hotel, and MORE! For details / to book, click HERE.


Join us on Thursday, October 13 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the exhibition The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience, organized by the Telfair Museums. Exhibition curator Harry H. DeLorme, director of education and senior curator at the Telfair Museums, will give a lecture, followed by a catered reception in the galleries with live music by John Kiran Fernandes. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of the same title, which is available in the museum store. $15, members; $25, nonmembers. Register online https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=NqiQq2 or call 706-828-3825.

Throughout the exhibition, the museum will offer a Treasure Map Scavenger Hunt. Follow the map to find treasures in work of art throughout the museum. Once the hunt is completed, each participant can choose a prize from the magic trunk AND will receive a temporary tattoo designed JUST for the Golding exhibition. Maps available September 24 at the Visitor Services desk. FREE + fun for ALL!

Sunday, November 6, 2:00−4:00 p.m.
Artrageous! Family Sunday: Ships Ahoy!
Come see the ship-tastic artwork of William O. Golding and make your own model ship, to race across our minipool. FREE. 


September 24, 2022
January 22, 2023
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Morris Museum of Art
1 Tenth Street
Augusta, GA 30901 United States
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