Artist and South Carolina native Jonathan Green is widely recognized and collected throughout the southeastern United States for his paintings of family, community and life in the Lowcountry. They have drawn national and international attention to the unique and tenacious Gullah culture that has enriched the coastal regions of the Southeast for centuries.
But there is another side of Green that many of his fans don’t know: his generous support, through his art, of community organizations in the fields of education, the arts, health care and literacy programs, among others.
Jonathan Green: The Artist as Servant-Leader – A Retrospective of Community Engagement, a new exhibition opening Sept. 26 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, offers a unique glimpse of Green’s longtime philanthropy. It features nearly 50 posters created over the past 30 years using images donated by Green in support of regional nonprofit service organizations.
The exhibit runs through the end of the year. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 – 4 p.m. Sundays.
The artist’s support of nonprofit organizations, as reflected in the posters on display in the exhibition, dates back to 1988 when he donated his image for use in a commemorative poster for the Encountering America: Diversity in Afro-American Art conference hosted by The Visions Foundation at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.Since then he has extended his help to a wide range of groups and causes, including the SC Humanities Council, the Medical University of South Carolina, the Alliance of Black School Educators as well as county libraries and museums across the south
Among the many honors Green has received is the NAACP’s Key of Life Award, given for outstanding achievements and performance by people of color in the arts, in 2009. He was named Honorary Ambassador for the Arts for Florida in 2005 by the state’s former First Lady Columba Bush; and in 1996 he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina for capturing and recording Southern traditions and culture in his art.
Green’s art has been acclaimed by collectors and critics throughout the world and is in the collections of numerous museums, including the Morris Museum of Art of Augusta, Georgia, the African-American Museum and Cultural Center of Charlotte, North Carolina, the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach and the Naples (Florida) Museum of Art. Since 2003, his work has appeared in several exhibitions at the Art Museum in Myrtle Beach including Southern Images of Faith, Family and Friends: The Art of Jonathan Green and Jonathan Green: The Artist and The Collector.