Ava Gardner Museum Looks Ahead to Festival & 100th

The Ava Gardner Museum staff and board of directors are in a state of excitement as we celebrate Ava’s centennial birthday this year and next. Our “Ava 100” committee is in full swing planning special events for our Ava Gardner Festival weekend October 7-9. You’ll not want to miss all the activities we’ve planned including a tribute concert featuring music from Ava’s record collection and songs from her films; the mural and rose garden dedication ceremony at the AGM; heritage tours, film screenings, brand-new exhibits, and much more. New gift shop merchandise is also available now and more limited-edition items are on their way. We are sure you will want to be a part of all the “Ava 100” festivities!

Ava Gardner Mural and Rose Garden

Ava Gardner Mural and Rose Garden

The mural saluting Ava’s extraordinary life is finished, and it is an absolute work of art! Jeks, the North Carolina-based muralist, did a masterful job creating a beautiful homage to our hometown girl. Located directly in front of the new mural on the east side of the Museum is our new garden filled with Ava’s favorite flower, yellow roses. With these two new additions, we anticipate even more visitors to the Museum. You’ll certainly want to see both of these Ava tributes in person!

Lynell Seabold with Ava Gardner Museum Sign

Museum Awarded Grants

Our Executive Director, Lynell Seabold, has been busy writing grants to help the Museum recover from the last couple of years and to assist with funding for all of our “Ava 100” projects. We have been fortunate enough to receive grants from the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts, Johnston Country Arts Council, Johnston County Visitors Bureau, North Carolina Community Foundation, and the Winston-Salem Foundation. We are so grateful for the support of these wonderful organizations that also help many other non-profits to survive and thrive.

Ava Gardner Museum Staff - New

New Staff Members

We recently welcomed two new members to the AGM family. Our new weekend docent, Beth Cannon, is the daughter of Doris Rollins Cannon who, along with Tom and Lorraine Banks, was instrumental in establishing the AGM. Doris also authored Grabtown Girl the definitive book on Ava Gardner’s life growing up in North CarolinaBeth is a great addition to our team and is enjoying getting to know our visitors. Marisa Balatico, who was our weekend docent from 2016 to 2018, has returned to the AGM family as part of our social media team. She brings lots of enthusiasm and exciting ideas as we continue to engage with Ava fans through social media. We are so thrilled to have Beth and Marisa as part of our team!

Ava Gardner Festival - Ava 100

Artifacts and Collections

We’ve acquired several new artifacts and are looking forward to sharing them with you in multiple new exhibits which will be unveiled at the Ava Gardner Festival. We are also requesting all Ava collectors to consider loaning artifacts to the Museum for our centennial celebrations. Ava fans from around the world will be coming to the AGM, and we know they will be excited to see the unique items from the private collections that we will be showcasing. If you are interested in sharing your collection items, please contact us through email at avainfo@avagardner.org.

Ava Gardner Trust with Whiskey Bottle

Ava Gardner Trust Updates

In partnership with the Ava Gardner Trust and Seven Jars Distillery, we had the official launch of the 2nd Edition of the Ava Gardner Select Bourbon Whiskey. The AGM hosted a special Facebook Live event where we learned more about the new whiskey release and the proper way to taste it! If you were unable to watch our live launch event, you can view it on the Museum’s YouTube channel. In two recent new episodes of our online program Ava Chats, the AGM sat down with the Co-Trustees of the Trust, Ava Thompson and Ava Silver. In our first episode, we chatted about the new whiskey and what inspired the beverage and the label design. In our second episode, the Trustees discussed details of their trip to London to attend the play “AVA: The Secret Conversations” starring Elizabeth McGovern, and their visit to a place dear to Ava’s heart and one of the Trust’s beneficiaries, Queen Victoria Hospital. Ava Thompson also contributed two fantastic articles to the AGM blog about the Trust’s experiences in London seeing the play and visiting the hospital.

Forgotten Hollywood Podcast and Lora Stocker

Museum Outreach

As part of our ongoing outreach efforts, we’re always happy to talk about Ava’s life and career and the work of the Museum. In this last year, our Executive Director and board members have participated in numerous articles, news stories, and podcasts. Lora Stocker, AGM board member and social media consultant, was a guest on the podcast “Forgotten Hollywood,” talking to host Doug Hess about Ava and the AGM as part of their theme “Stars with Museums.” Lora has also been a return guest on Karie Bible’s YouTube show “Hollywood Kitchen,” recently appearing to discuss Ava’s role in “The Bribe” (1949). We continue to share Ava’s story and promote her legacy through interviews with travel writers, bloggers, and local and national reporters. If you or someone you know would like us to appear on your podcast or schedule an interview, please contact us through email at avainfo@avagardner.org.

Ava Gardner Museum Interior

Support the Museum

We want to thank all our Ava Advocates for their loyal support. We have many new advocates this year and we’d like to extend special appreciation for making this our best year ever! You enable the Museum to continue our mission to showcase and protect our extensive collection as well as educate the public about Ava Gardner’s remarkable life and career.

You can contact the Museum by phone at 919-934-5830 or email at avainfo@avagardner.org. Please keep in touch and be sure to follow us on social media for all the latest AGM news. Make plans to join us October 7-9 for the Ava Gardner Festival and stay tuned for future announcements about our many “Ava 100” centennial celebration plans.