Creating ‘Urban Memories’

Atlanta-based art show curated for museum studies capstone

A Georgia College museum studies student curated an art exhibit at Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery as the beginning of the end of her college experience.

Ellen Conner curated the exhibit “Urban Memories” as a part of her senior capstone.

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Museum studies major Ellen Conner orchestrated the exhibition of artist Matt Haffner’s work for her Capstone project. Here, she stands in front of one of Haffner’s paintings in his exhibition “Urban Memories.” “I’ve always been drawn to art,” Conner said. “So I have been looking forward to this experience.”
“I’ve always been drawn to art,” Conner said.  “So I have been looking forward to this experience.”


Conner began her curatorial process months in advance by researching various galleries and artists in Georgia.

“The student comes up with the core concept,” said Carlos Herrera, Gallery Coordinator of Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery and Assistant Professor of Art: Museum Studies. “It’s like building a thesis statement.”

Conner found what she was looking for in Whitespace, an Atlanta art gallery.  The work of Matt Haffner, an Atlanta based urban photographer and graffiti artist, captured Conner’s attention.

“I liked his (Haffner’s) aesthetic,” Conner said. “I narrowed it down to Matt after the first formal review.”

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Exhibition curator Ellen Conner and artist Matt Haffner at the artist talk in March. Haffner is a an Atlanta-based artist focused on photography and graffiti.
Together, Conner and Haffner chose the pieces for the exhibit that would become “Urban Memories.”


The collection of prints, paintings and an installation depicts the dilapidation of bygone cities and the people that reside in them.

“I wanted to think about the narratives of the people,” Haffner said.

Haffner does just this by engaging the viewer through the raw emotion of his subjects.

“Ellen really has a great eye and selected some great work,” Herrera said. “I think it’s just wonderful to see the collection.”

Conner, too, is pleased with the outcome.

“It has been a great experience with the professors supporting me and guiding me along the way,” Conner said.

“Urban Memories” is located in Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery from March 7 to April 8.

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