What you need to know before visiting Atlanta's High Museum of Art 

  • Mary Caldwell
  • For the AJC
10:37 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 Go Guide

Atlanta's High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeast, housing a large permanent collection of more than 15,000 works ranging from ancient to contemporary.

»RELATED: High voted the best museum in Atlanta in 2016

Ana Santos
Spectators reviewing exhibitions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3, 2017.

The museum has a particularly diverse array of highlights, including American and European paintings and sculptures, one of the largest collections of civil rights-era prints in the U.S. and a significant folk and self-taught art collection.

»RELATED: High Museum lowers ticket prices

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Courtesy of High Museum
Djenne artist, Mali, "Portrait of Sogolon, Mother of Sundiata, Founder of the Empire of Mali."

Location: African Art galleries, Wieland Pavilion, lower level

Why it's a must-see: The art of ancient Africa is a particular strength of the High's African art collection, and this unusually animated, elegant sculpture is a wonderful representation. It's been dated to between 1214 and 1514, which was the height of the Mali Empire – one of the largest kingdoms the world has ever known. The sculpture depicts a snake wrapping around a female torso, the subject of which has been identified as Sogolon, mother of the founder of the Mali Empire.

Peter Harholdt/Courtesy of the High Museum.
Marcel Wanders, "Crochet Chair, prototype," 2006, crocheted fiber and epoxy resin.

Location: Contemporary design galleries, Stent Wing, Skyway level

Why it's a must-see: The Crochet chair was formed of hand-crocheted pieces dipped in resin and is a part of the High's growing collection of international contemporary design artwork. Dutch artist Marcel Wanders' pieces show a range of material, process, intent and form, in addition to maintaining an element of surprise in each. The chair's upholstery, a traditionally decorative element, also functions as its structural element.

Courtesy of the High Museum
Claude Monet, "Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil," 1873, oil on canvas

Location: European Art galleries, Stent Family Wing, second level, Gallery 204

Why it's a must-see: It's representative of the works of the late-19th-century impressionists, whose works were often created outside and captured their immediate impressions. Monet may have painted it from the small boat he converted into a floating studio, and his use of brilliant colors is mirrored in the waters below, making it hard to distinguish between the reflected colors and their sources.

Courtesy of the High Museum
Nellie Mae Rowe, "When I was a Little Girl," 1978, crayon, oil pastel, marker, colored pencil and graphite on paper.

Location: Folk and self-taught art galleries, Stent Wing, Skyway Level

Why it's a must-see: Nellie Mae Rowe lived on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings, Georgia, in a home known as "Nellie's Playhouse." It was decorated with found-object installations, handmade dolls, chewing gum sculptures and hundreds of drawings. The High's folk and self-taught art collection is one of the world's most significant public repositories of contemporary American self-made art and also features works from Howard Finster, another famous Georgia artist who was self-taught.

Courtesy of the High Museum
Julie Mehretu, "Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts): Part 2," 2012, ink and acrylic on canvas.

Location: Modern and contemporary art galleries, Wieland Pavilion, Skyway Level

Why it's a must-see: It shows how contemporary painters are influenced by social upheaval and political disruption. One in a four-part series of large canvases, this contemporary artwork at the High Museum features deeply layered architectural renderings from Tripoli, Cairo and other social gathering sites where Arab Spring uprisings occurred.

Peter Harholdt/Courtesy of the High Museum
James Karales, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Home with His Family, 1962 (in Kitchen)," 1962, gelatin silver print

Location: On view through March 12 next to the entrance to the High's Greene Family Learning Gallery (Stent Wing)

Why it's a must-see: The High has one of the country's most significant collections of photographs documenting the civil rights movement, with more than 300 works. Karales' photos showed a personal side of Dr. King and his family, and this intimate photo of the family was taken when they were expecting their fourth child, Bernice.

The High Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday. Hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday and from noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. The High is open until 10 p.m. every third Friday of the month for Friday Jazz.

Advance tickets are recommended, but not required. In addition, you can buy tickets at the museum, including at self-service ticketing kiosks.

Tickets are issued until one hour before closing and are $14.50 for ages 6 and above and free for ages 5 and under.

Second Sundays: free admission on the second Sunday of each month with family-friendly programming from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Bank of America Museums on Us: free walk-up admission on the first full weekend of each month for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders (for cardholders only)

The High Museum of Art is located at 1280 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta, and can be reached by rail, bus or car.

By rail: The museum is directly across the street from the MARTA Arts Center (N5) station. Exit the station at the top level, and follow the signs directing you to the museum.

By bus: Check out MARTA's schedule to find a route that takes you to the High.

By carDrive to the High via I-85 Southbound or I-75 Southbound, or I-75/85 Northbound.

Garage parking is available underneath the museum for $10 on weekdays for the first four hours until 5 p.m.; $15 after four hours on weekdays until 5 p.m. only; $15 for 5 p.m.-7 a.m. on weekdays; and $15 for all day Saturday, Sunday and for special events. Event valet parking is $25, and High Museum members can park for $8 during museum hours, based on availability.

For more information about the High, call 404-733-4444 for recorded information, 404-733-4400 to speak to a receptionist from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays, or the box office at 404-733-5000. 

You can also visit the museum's website at www.high.org.

Twenty-year-old Atlanta native, Mac Stewart is likely the youngest artist to ever be featured in an exhibit at the High Museum.
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