Iconic Photography gallery gets a new home in Buckhead

The new Jackson Fine Art at 3122 East Shadowlawn Ave. Photo by Rob Knight

Jackson Fine Art has been a staple of the Atlanta art scene for over thirty years. The contemporary photography gallery hosts exhibitions for artists from around the world, sells photographic fine art prints, and brokers the sale of art on behalf of their clients. Co-owner and creative director Anna Walker Skillman and co-owner Andy Heyman will celebrate their 20th year of owning the gallery in March by moving into a brand new building that was designed and built especially to house the gallery. 

Jane Jackson opened the gallery in a converted home on East Shadowlawn Avenue in 1990. The home had previously been used by a fur merchant who built a climate controlled vault to store customers’ fur coats. The vault turned out to be an excellent place to store photographic prints, and the layout has worked well for the contemporary art gallery ever since. After Ms. Jackson was hired to curate Elton John’s (one of the gallery’s many influential clients) private art collection full-time in 2003, she sold Jackson Fine Art to the gallery’s director of six years, Anna Walker Skillman.

Owner and creative director Anna Walker Skillman in front of the new Jackson Fine Art. Photo by Rob Knight

Ms. Skillman reminisced about how much the original building has meant to her, “It’s been quite a 20 years to see how photography and the art market has changed. And all from that little house which I’ve loved.” The gallery had leased the original location for 30 years. When a lot became available across the street, the owners took the opportunity to move the gallery and create their dream space.

Details of the new space

The new home of Jackson Fine Art is across the street from the original location on East Shadowlawn Avenue. The exterior of the new gallery feels a bit like a larger more modern version of the original. It was designed to blend in with the neighborhood, and looks comfortable among the 1940’s brick bungalows lining the street. 

The new Jackson Fine Art building (left) blends in nicely with the existing homes and businesses on East Shadowlawn Ave.

According to Ms. Skillman, the original gallery was an inspiration for the new space. She said she doesn’t like the cold unwelcoming feeling that some galleries have, and she wants Jackson Fine Arts’ clients to feel more comfortable. “I want it to be open to people that want to learn about contemporary art and 20th century photography, but also collectors.” She continued, “I’ve always wanted a warm welcoming space. So it looks a lot like the old house.”

The new gallery occupies 4000 square feet at 3122 East Shadowlawn Avenue. Two large exhibition galleries are the tip of the iceberg in this modern custom-built gallery. Client-facing viewing rooms and storage areas contain a treasure trove of contemporary photography. Upstairs, a new library and meeting spaces provide opportunities for exploration and study for clients, students, and more.  

Work is displayed throughout the gallery, including hallways and other public spaces. Ms. Skillman discussed the importance of displaying work beyond the large gallery spaces. “Sometimes you can do these intimate spaces.” She continued, “I love the idea of creating a home to put the work in so that people can envision it in their own house.” Ms. Skillman sees the gallery as an opportunity to connect people with contemporary photography. “We offer this because people come in and you want them to feel educated and engaged.”

Around the neighborhood

East Shadowlawn Avenue has seen an increase in foot traffic since the opening of the Kimpton Sylvan Hotel and the Thompson Buckhead Hotel on East Paces Ferry Road. Ms. Skillman told us that  people walking down East Shadowlawn is something new. She says it’s now common for visitors to walk out of the hotels to explore the neighborhood and find their way to the gallery. Some guests know about the gallery and seek it out, and others discover it while they are walking.

Ms. Skillman is hoping that the increased pedestrian traffic will attract other businesses to the street. She said, “I love all the different things that are happening in Buckhead, and I love the change so much here.” She said the street has always been home to the same type of businesses, but she sees an opportunity for the neighborhood to become more of a destination. Considering the clientele from the Thompson and the Sylvan, Ms. Skillman said, ”I would hope there would be all these great little businesses for them to explore on the street. There’s some now, but not as many as I would like.”

Jackson Fine Art opening exhibits

The three opening exhibitions at the new Jackson Fine Art include artists from around the world. All three exhibits will will be on display from March 24- May 26, 2023

Sheila Pree Bright. “The Rebirth of Us”

Atlanta-based fine art photographer Sheila Pree Bright is featured in one of the main galleries. “Sheila Pree Bright is someone I’ve admired for a long time.” Ms. Skillman said, “She has not had a formal gallery in Atlanta, and so I want to celebrate her for the inaugural show.” The exhibition is called “The Rebirth of Us.” Ms. Skillman described the relevance of the exhibition, “[Sheila Pree Bright] was commissioned to [depict] racism, and she thought she didn’t want to do the 1969 series where she was photographing protests. She really wanted to move away from that. She started going into the landscape around Stone Mountain and really understanding the history of that place, and did a series that ended up being part of the Picturing the South exhibit at the High Museum of Art. We wanted to celebrate that series here. In her mind, the landscape has this fraught history in what the Confederate carving represents. I think she is now looking for the other side of that, and how the landscape actually becomes a meditative space to bring the kind of peace and light and the hope of moving away from the negativity of what has happened for years and years.”


Cooper & Gorfer. “When We are Giant”

The exhibit in the second gallery, entitled “When We are Giant,” is by the Swedish duo Cooper and Gorfer. The two female artists create collages with photography, embroidered elements, and more to create intricate, large-scale work. They also photograph their collages to create prints of the three-dimensional work. Ms. Skillman told us of Cooper and Gorfer, “One lives and works in Stockholm and the other lives outside Stockholm. They’ve been working together as a team for many years. The work is around this idea of femininity, and a lot of the images have storytelling and mythology.” https://www.jacksonfineart.com/exhibitions/237-cooper-gorfer-when-we-are-giant/

Francesca Woodman & George Lange in the Viewing Room

The third exhibit, and the first in the viewing room, is photographs by Francesca Woodman and George Lange. Francesca Woodman was a young photographer who Ms.Skillman describes as a “cult figure in photography.” Ms. Woodman’s self-portraits and other work in the mid 1970’s pushed artistic boundaries and inspired countless artists ever since. Her untimely death at the age of 22 elevated her profile and brought more attention to her work. 

George Lange was a classmate of Francesca Woodman at the Rhode Island School of Design. His portraits of her are included along with Ms. Woodman’s self portraits in the viewing room.


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