This past week, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding in historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC and AV Connections, Inc. was on hand to provide sound system rentals in NC for the gala and auction evening. One of the finest American museums on the subject of decorative arts, MESDA joined forces with Graylyn Conference Center – a quintessential example of the building-construction decorative arts in its own right – to host this lovely evening banquet for MESDA donors and sponsors.
With 280 guests expected, the size of the expected attendance greatly surpassed the number of people who could fit into Graylyn’s historic Atlantis Room. AV Connections, Inc. was charged with assembling the AV in the Atlantis Room and broadcasting it to the terrace lawn outdoors. The Atlantis Room was important to the evening all on its own, as a prime example of Southern decorative arts. Hand painted to recreate an under the-scape, it is was a fitting place in which to note the accomplishments and growth of MESDA in its first fifty years and to plan for its future.
Turning fifty is a huge accomplishment for MESDA and its endowment which has been serving the growth of the Museum since 1960. Five years of planning preceded the opening of the Museum in 1965 by local antiquities dealers Frank Horton and his mother Theodosia Taliaferro. Seeing a void in both respect for, and preservation of, Southern decorative arts they endeavored for five years to fund the future museum endowment. With the support of the arts and collecting communities locally and throughout the South, the Museum sprung to life. MESDA continues to increase its collection and educational offerings and can be credited with bringing recognition to generations of Southern crafts-people.
In the permanent collection of MESDA an impressive array of decorative examples thrive under watchful eyes of dedicated cultural arts preservationists, including some of the South’s finest works of furniture making, wood work, painting, and inlay design construction. And while this effort is celebrating fifty years, that is a relative youngster in the realm of museums preserving cultural arts. Creating healthy endowments and robust fundraising efforts are the key to museum survival and growing collections and offerings. This gala and auction evening was a resounding success, raising $212,000 for MESDA. As natives of the South, we could not be happier to report this was the case.
AV Connections, Inc. was pleased to provide two elevated screens with bright projectors and a sound system that extended outside into the soaring courtyard so those who could not be accommodated in the historic Atlantis Room were still a part of the event via the outdoor courtyard’s overflow space.