Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment​ opens Feb. 19 at Reynolda

The exhibition will  feature works by nineteenth-century artists Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church as well as contemporary artists including Paula Hayes, Maya Lin, Richard Estes, Juan Fontanive, Roxy Paine, Rachel Sussman, and Vik Muniz.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 20, 2021) —  Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment opens at Reynolda House Museum of American Art on Feb. 19 as part of its reopening weekend of gratitude for members, first responders, and WFU faculty, staff, and students, and on Feb. 23 to the public. The traveling exhibition explores pollination as a metaphor for the interconnections between art and science, among artists, and across generations.  

Taking flight from Martin Johnson Heade’s unprecedented series The Gems of Brazil, Cross Pollination creates dialogues between paintings, sketches, and natural specimen collections of fellow Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. Heade was influenced by and connected to this group of painters working in the nineteenth century, who in various ways all shared a fascination with art and the natural world. The relationships among these artists influenced new thinking and work by future generations, beginning with Cole and Church’s own daughters, Emily and Isabel. Like their nineteenth-century counterparts, contemporary artists featured in this exhibition, such as Maya Lin and Roxy Paine, find inspiration in art and science. They engage in multiple disciplines and media and rely on close observations of nature to address diverse themes. These range from wonder and fascination with nature to questions about its fragility and how to balance the built and natural worlds. A number of artists explore cross-species connections, while others use shifts in scale and perspective to examine how nature is a complex cultural construction. Together, these artists offer new visions and possibilities that imagine a future on Earth based on interconnection, balance, and reciprocity. Developed with artists and scholars across disciplines, the exhibition addresses the continuing relevance of close observations of nature and the critical interconnections between pollinators and their habitats today.

The exhibition’s focus on the beauty and wonder of nature is a prominent theme reflected throughout Reynolda and its 170-acre estate. Visitors to Cross Pollination will be invited to explore their own connections between art and nature on visits to Reynolda’s greater and formal gardens, which include birding and nature trails, where visitors can look for the objects and specimens featured in the exhibition, including hummingbirds.

Martin Johnson Heade’s lifelong passion for hummingbirds engaged both a scientific curiosity and a sense of wonder. In his intended introduction to The Gems of Brazil, he wrote: “Scientific men have traveled hundreds of miles through the wild, malarious regions of the tropics in their anxiety to add to the knowledge of this seemingly insignificant but most brilliant and attractive little creature. For one who is in the least degree attuned to poetic feelings, they have a singularly fascinating power, which the subtlest mind is unable to explain, but which all who have studied them must acknowledge to have felt.”

Allison Perkins, executive director, Reynolda House, and Wake Forest University associate provost for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens, explains, “Reynolda is a unique destination intentionally designed to feed curiosity and inspire awe through its art and historic landscape. The opportunity to share a magnificent collaboration with our community and our visitors is so timely, particularly when the importance of nature, peace, and a sense of togetherness have never been more appreciable.”

Cross Pollination was created by The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site, Thomas Cole National Historical Site, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark. Its tour is organized by Crystal Bridges. Support for this exhibition and its national tour is provided by Art Bridges. Additional major support has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. The exhibition has traveled to The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Fla., and will travel to Olana State Historic Site, Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. over the coming months.

Cross Pollination was curated by Kate Menconeri, Curator & Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Julia B. Rosenbaum, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Bard College; former Director of Research and Publications at The Olana Partnership; William L. Coleman, Director of Collections & Exhibitions at The Olana Partnership; and Mindy N. Besaw, Curator, American Art and Director of Fellowships and Research, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Cross Pollination was developed collaboratively between the partner museums and in conversations with leading American artists, scholars, scientists, and historians.

Cross Pollination is accompanied by a full-color catalogue with essays by the curators. To purchase a book in advance of the museum’s opening on Feb. 19, contact retail manager Beth Warren at

Register to visit the exhibition or buy tickets.

Reynolda House is grateful to the following sponsors for their support of Cross Pollination:

Presenting Sponsor
Art Bridges

Additional major support has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation

Major Sponsors
Patty and Malcolm Brown
The Charles H. Babcock, Jr. Arts and Community Initiative Endowment
Mercedes Benz of Winston-Salem

Contributing Sponsor
The Ecology Wildlife Foundation Fund

Exhibition Partner
Parsec Financial

Hours and Admission
Reynolda House, located at 2250 Reynolda Rd., will be open to visitors at reduced capacity and with face coverings required for all visitors over the age of two Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m from Feb. 19 onward.

The museum is closed through Feb. 18. 

Museum members, children 18 and under, students, military personnel, employees of Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with valid ID receive free admission to the museum. Passes to Reynolda House in English and Spanish are available to check out from every branch of the Forsyth County Public Library free of charge. 

Reynolda Gardens is open from dawn to dusk daily free of charge.  The greenhouse is currently closed.

Visit for more information on shopping and dining.

**Look for the #ReynoldaHummingbird this Spring and tag @curatereynolda with your own hummingbird inspiration. **

Program registration details are available on or

Opening celebration!
FEB. 19 Weekend of Gratitude

Register online at

Museum members, first responders, and Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students are invited to view the exhibition before it opens to the public. Register online.

Beginning Feb. 23
Member Tuesdays

Register online at

Tuesday afternoons from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. through the run of Cross Pollination are reserved for museum members only. To become a member, visit

Cross Pollination Book Club
Wednesdays in February at 4 p.m.
Free, virtual

Get excited for the spring exhibition at Reynolda by reading and discussing A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade by Christopher Benfey. Using the image of a flitting hummingbird as a metaphor for the gossamer strands that connect these larger-than-life personalities, Benfey re-creates the summer of 1882, when the four suddenly find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Calvinist world of decorum, restraint, and judgment and a new, unconventional world in which nature prevails and freedom is all. Contact retail manager Beth Warren at to purchase your copy from the museum store. Register online.

Get Your Lawn Off Drugs and Save the Pollinators

Tuesday, March 9, 12:30 p.m.
Free; virtual

Lisa Bartlett, gardens manager at Smith Gilbert Arboretum, will explain how a 16-acre public garden went from chemically dependent to rehab and how it is healthier and more beautiful than ever. Bartlett will show you the benefits of being a recovered drug addict and how life changing it can be for all living things. Register online.

Reynolda On the House
Thursday, March 18 and Thursday, May 20, 4:30–7:30 p.m.
Free museum admission, donations welcome

Enjoy evening hours at the museum “on the house” (free of charge)! In conjunction with Cross Pollination, join Reynolda and our community partners to learn about birds native to the local environment. After touring the exhibition, guests are encouraged to stroll the Gardens and participate in family-friendly activities that will take place on the front lawn, weather permitting. Advance timed registration required. Register online.

Bee Inspired by a New Season with Samantha Foxx
Tuesday, March 16, 12:30 p.m.
Free; virtual

Samantha Foxx, farmer at Mother’s Finest Family Farms, beekeeper, and stalwart of Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, will share essential planning tips necessary for Spring garden success. Register online.

Birds of Reynolda

Tuesday, March 23, 12:30 p.m.
Free; virtual

Did you know that Reynolda’s Greater Gardens and its wooded trails are among the best places to see birds in Winston-Salem? Kim Brand, engagement director for Audubon North Carolina and local resident, will share stories of the birds that call Reynolda home or stop by during their long migration journeys, with an eye toward the plants they need to thrive. Register online.

American Roots in Art and Ecology
Sunday, March 28, 3 p.m.
Free; virtual

Explore how art and conservation contribute to our American identity with art historian Maggie Cao; a Wake Forest University biodiversity scholar; local environmental activist Jamie Maier; and a surprise living artist featured in the exhibition. These panelists will foster a deeper understanding of Cross Pollination’s “roots” in American art while simultaneously tackling regional environmental challenges of the twenty-first century. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions for a lively panel discussion following the formal presentation. Support provided by Art Bridges. Register online.

Orchids and Their Culture

Tuesday, April 6, 12:30 p.m.
Free; virtual

Feeling inspired by those Cattleya orchids in Martin Johnson Heade’s paintings? Join Will Bottoms, Vice President of the Triad Orchid Society and Student Judge with the American Orchid Society, as he discusses how to grow and flower orchids in your home or greenhouse. Learn about what makes an orchid special in the flowering plant world and the basics of care to keep your plant happy for years to come. Register online.

Pollination Station: Reynolda Community Day 2021
Saturday, May 8, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Free; virtual and in-person

This year’s hybrid community event will focus on themes of nature and art. Guests who are comfortable visiting in person will enjoy free admission to the museum and outdoor exploration (weather permitting), Reynolda Read-Aloud for families, and take-home art activities. For the first time, Reynolda will offer virtual programming throughout the day, including a community dance performance and “pollination station” educational activities that you can do from home.  Advance timed registration required. Support provided by Art Bridges.

Outdoor Discovery Lesson 
Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, 10–11:30 a.m.

$15 member/$20 not-yet-member, per family, per session.
Single-session of outdoor, in-person learning for 3–5 year olds and a caregiver

To promote reading readiness and visual literacy, preschoolers and their caregivers will explore Reynolda through activities that encourage dramatic play, music, movement, and art-making, taking Martin Johnson Heade’s painting Orchid with Two Hummingbirds as a starting point. The program will take place outside on the grounds; families are encouraged to bring a blanket upon which to sit and play. Sanitized materials will be provided per family group and participants may walk and collect their own natural items. Advance registration required. Register online.

Family First Workshops
$12 members/$15 non-members per person unless otherwise noted; art materials provided. Advance registration required.

These two-hour workshops begin at 2 p.m. the first Sunday of each month for children in grades 1 through 6 accompanied by an adult. Unless fully virtual, the workshops will take place outdoors in the front of Reynolda. Families will receive a pass to visit the Museum at another time. For in-person workshops, there is also the option to pick up materials and complete the activity at home.

March 7—Flip Book Workshop

Are you interested in animation and making drawings move? As artist Juan Fontanive took inspiration from 18th- and 19th-century artists’ drawings of hummingbirds, we will take inspiration from his clockwork Ornithology series to create our own story through pages of illustrations. Register online.

April 11—Pollinators Ornament/Pin Workshop

Stitch your own felt butterfly, hummingbird, or bumblebee and a flower that can  become either brooches or ornaments for display. Kits with pre-selected colors will also be available for completing this project at home. Register online.

May 2—Terrarium Workshop 

As seen in Cross Pollination, artist Paula Hayes created terraria as a way of bringing nature inside. In this workshop with Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda House, you can create your own mini-terrarium and a figurine to inhabit it. Register online.

About Reynolda
Reynolda, in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic greenspaces. The 53-year-old museum at the center of Reynolda’s 170 acres, Reynolda House Museum of American Art presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds’s historic home. Spanning 250 years, the collection is an uncompromisingly selective one, a chronology of American art, with each artist represented by one work of major significance. The Reynolda experience includes a free app called Reynolda Revealed; touring exhibitions in the museum’s Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing; formal gardens, conservatory and walking trails of Reynolda Gardens; and more than 25 of the estate’s original buildings repurposed as shops and restaurants in Reynolda Village. Reynolda, located at 2250 Reynolda Road, is part of Wake Forest University. For more information, please visit

Connect at and @CurateReynolda on Instagram.


Media Contact
Kaci Baez
336.758.5524 or