Root & All: P.H. Polk Images of George W. Carver from the Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Alabama

JAN 19-MARCH 31, 2018

P.H. Polk, born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1898, enrolled in Tuskegee Institute at age eighteen with hopes of becoming a painter. Discouraged by the school’s administration, he met C.M. Battey, the school’s official photographer, and changed course to photography. After studying under Fred Jensen in Chicago, Polk opened his first studio in Tuskegee in 1927. Just one year later, he was appointed to the faculty of the Tuskegee Institute Photography Department, and in 1940 became the college’s official photographer.

During Polk’s 45 years as college photographer, George Washington Carver was a faculty member and became on of Polk’s most photographed subjects. These photographs show Carver at work in his greenhouses and labs, teaching students, and lecturing. Although different from Polk’s studio work – photographs of Carver of often blurry, candid, and taken in whatever light was available – the series highlights his regard for a strong composition.

Renowned Alabama photographer, P.H. Polk’s photographs of well known botanist George Washington Carver during his days at Tuskegee Institute are on loan from The Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Alabama.


Featured Above: P.H. Polk, George W. Carver in Greenhouse, 1938, gelatin silver print, © Tuskegee University Archives, Tuskegee, Alabama

Featured Below: P.H. Polk, George Washington Carver (painting flowers), n.d., gelatin silver print, © Tuskegee University Archives, Tuskegee, Alabama


Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Throughout the year, WMA will host “Meet the Educator” days where parents and their children can come to the classroom to meet the instructor before beginning classes and camps. 2019’s schedule is as follows: January 30 from 4pm-6pm, May 29 from 4pm-6pm, and August 28 from 4pm-6pm.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.