Inspiring as well as socially engaging, the Alabama Contemporary Art Center (located in Mobile, Alabama) is a great place to visit for people of all ages. The center helps visitors see art in a new light, while also learning more about the history of the area. After a successful, multi-million-dollar campaign to help raise the funds to renovate the building that now houses the arts center, it was opened to the public in 2003.
In 2015, it was renamed and paired with the current ACAC, which has been in operation since 1999 and has provided over 80,000 people with art classes, camps, and other arts based education and conversation.
Although the art center features a variety of rotating exhibits, many of them are featured for lengthy periods of time to make sure to allow plenty of opportunities for visitors to see their specifically procured collections.
Back to Havana - The current nine-month exhibit being featured at the art center is the Back to Havana exhibition. Focusing on the similarities between Havana, Cuba and Mobile, Alabama as the first Cuban American sister cities pair, this exhibit goes into detail about the economic, cultural, educational, and civic issues that these cities have in common. Part exhibit, part community initiative, Back to Havana takes a look at Cuban culture with a focus on Home and Family, Play and Recreation, Communications and Technology, Travel and Transportation, and Dreams. This exhibit also features multimedia works from fifteen of the most exciting contemporary Cuban artists: Alejandro Alfonso, William Perez, Sandra Ramos, and Kris Perez (among others). The exhibit continues the art center’s mission statement of connecting interests, ideas, and other global significant issues to the region. Along with this exhibit comes frequent cultural events hosted at the center with Cuban food, music, and activities!
State of the Art - After Back to Havana leaves in 2018, State of the Art is set to replace it on exhibition. This exhibit celebrates Alabama’s bicentennial with the theme “Honor Our People” with a focus on art of the contemporary variety. All artists featured are residents of, or a native of, Alabama.
Public Conversations - The art center also offers what they call public conversations, specifically tied to current exhibitions on display. These moderated talks are meant to further the conversation around the mission of each exhibition, allowing for multiple viewpoints and lively (but civil) discussion. Alabama Contemporary frequently partners with local cultural and social groups for these discussions.
Classes and Workshops - The center also offers a wide range of workshops and classes for all ages and skill levels. These mostly art classes are led by artists and other professionals and focus on the current exhibition. Recent classes and workshops have featured things like printmaking, art symbolism, creative writing, and found object art creation.
The arts center hosts many special events throughout the year, as well as being available for rental for guest’s own special events.
For rental inquiries, there is a form available on the center’s website that guests should fill out when looking into renting the center. This will allow the staff the ability to contact them and provide them specific information about availability, cost, and any restrictions to renting. There are few gallery options and staff will go over all available options after the form is filled out.
The website also hosts an up to date calendar of all events offered at the center. There are frequent events for both adults and children, like story time and yoga lessons. There are even classes that are geared toward senior learners of all skill levels. Members usually will not have to pay the additional fee. See the website for details, including cost, time and specifics including age restrictions.
The Alabama Contemporary center offers field trips to student groups. Contact the center for information about reservations, as they are recommended in advance to verify that the center is able to handle the group size. Designed to spark a fire of imagination and creativity in students of all ages, from kindergarten through senior year of high school, a field trip to the art center is educational while also engaging and inspiring to students. Every tour makes sure to focus on Discipline-Based Arts Ed’s four standards: art history/culture, arts production, criticism/aesthetics, and core curriculum. The field trips hit many of the main school subjects, including science, English, math, and social studies/sciences and is a great resource to allow for outside of classroom learning while still hitting all applicable school standards. It also provides students with fresh perspectives on what arts can mean to them personally, as well as to the community.
Alabama Contemporary Art Center, 301 Conti Street, Mobile, AL, 36602, Phone: 251-208-5671