“The Voyage of Life: Art, Allegory, and Community Response” opens July 16 at Reynolda House Museum of American Art with “Weekend of Gratitude”

Reynolda and Wake Forest University-curated exhibition features community-sourced stories alongside works of art by artists such as Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, Lee Krasner, Robert Colescott, Keith Haring, Romare Bearden and Grant Wood.

The Voyage of Life: Art, Allegory, and Community Response opens July 16 to members, first responders, and Wake Forest University faculty, staff, and students, with Weekend of Gratitude, and on July 20 to the public at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and runs through Dec. 12. In this exhibition, three centuries of American art will illuminate the chapters and most defining moments of every individual life. Works by artists including Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alice Neel, Fairfield Porter, Lee Krasner, Robert Colescott, Keith Haring, Endia Beal, and Grant Wood, will be featured alongside community-sourced stories and reveal critical moments in the voyage of life, with its heydays, rough patches and new starts. 

The Voyage of Life explores how each person “plays in his or her time many parts,” attaining awareness as children, striking out as individuals, embracing or avoiding change during adulthood, and learning new ways of being in old age. Community members of all ages have made correlations between the art featured in the exhibition and their own experience, and these observations will accompany curatorial descriptions throughout the exhibition and on social and digital channels throughout the exhibition. Promised gifts will also be featured, demonstrating the Museum’s goal of increasing representation by artists of color, and select loans from Wake Forest University (WFU)’s Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art and the Lam Museum of Anthropology will complement Reynolda’s featured holdings, mirroring the city’s remarkable collecting legacy. 

The exhibition uses the river as a metaphor for the natural ebbing and flowing of life. The various stages of life explored in The Voyage of Life include childhood; teenage years and young adulthood; relationships; work and play; community and tragedy; and aging/later years. The topics and questions proposed to community contributors may be viewed on this document. The time period for exhibition-featured community stories has closed, however, the Museum will continue to invite the public to share their stories leading up to the exhibition opening and throughout the run of The Voyage of Life for a chance to be featured on Reynolda’s social media channels. Visitors will also be able to share their stories on the Museum’s lobby walls during their visit. 

Fairfield Porter, Keelin Before the Reflected View, No. 2 (1972), oil on canvas, Courtesy of Barbara B. Millhouse, © 2021 The Estate of Fairfield Porter / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

“We are extremely grateful for the chance to pause and reflect on humanity through the creation of a community-focused exhibition that connects us together through life experiences and the beauty of art,” said Allison Perkins, executive director, Reynolda House, and Wake Forest University associate provost for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens.

The Voyage of Life has been curated by Phil Archer, deputy director, Reynolda House; Allison Slaby, curator, Reynolda House; Jennifer Finkel, Ph.D., Acquavella Curator of Collections, Wake Forest University; and Andrew Gurstelle, Ph.D., Academic Director, Lam Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University.

To become a Museum member and experience Voyage of Life in advance during Weekend of Gratitude, visit reynoldahouse.org/support

Reynolda House is grateful for the support of the following sponsors of The Voyage of Life:

Major Sponsors

The Charles H. Babcock, Jr. Arts and Community Initiative Endowment

Contributing Sponsor
Pam and Fred Kahl

Exhibition Partners
Kaplan Early Learning Company
Salem Funerals and Cremations 

Hours and Admission
Reynolda House, located at 2250 Reynolda Rd., is open to visitors Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Exhibition tickets for The Voyage of Life are available online at reynoldahouse.org/voyage

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 reynoldavillage.org for more information on shopping and dining.

About Reynolda
Reynolda, in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic greenspaces. The 54-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 reynolda.org.

Connect at facebook.com/rhmaa and @CurateReynolda on Instagram.

About Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art
Wake Forest’s Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art, established in 1962, is highly unusual in that it was conceived by students, selected by student committees, and purchased entirely with University funds. Every four years since the first New York buying trip in 1963, a small group of students, under the direction of an Art Department faculty member, have researched contemporary artists and the contemporary art market and purchased new artworks for the Wake Forest Art Collection. This program is the first of its kind at a university. 

About The Lam Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University
The Lam Museum of Anthropology originated in 1963 as an effort by faculty of the Department of Anthropology to broaden the learning opportunities available to their students. It creates awareness of global cultures by collecting, protecting, managing, and exhibiting archaeological artifacts, ethnographic objects, and visual arts of past and present peoples, and providing opportunities for intercultural learning. Established as the Museum of Man, it embarked in 2021 on a new phase of operation, with a new campus location and a new name in honor of alumnus Timothy S. Y. Lam (’60), donor of a major collection of Chinese ceramics.


Media Contact
Kaci Baez
336.758.5524 or kaci@reynolda.org