Skip to Content


The Art of Leaving a Legacy

June 1, 2021 | Mark Mills

Joy Hallinan

Joy Hallinan. Photo by CatMax Photography.

As Joy Hallinan approached her sixtieth birthday last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she thought it was time to finalize her estate plans. “During lock-down, I reflected about my values and decided I wanted to leave my legacy to non-profits that are important to me,” she shared. She decided she would allocate $100,000 of her estate to the High Museum of Art for photography acquisition.

The High has always held a special place for Joy. After working in several leading art museums around the country, she knew she wanted to live near the High when she moved to Atlanta in 2004. “Wherever I live, it’s important to have the local art museum in my life,” she said. “After I bought my home near Piedmont Park, I became a member of the High and its Friends of Photography group. I really wanted to get to know the curators and the collection. Over the years, every visit was like food for my soul.”

When asked why she chose to support photography, Joy said, “I love photography! The High’s photography collection is so strong already, but it has great potential to become one of the premier collections in the country. I hope this gift provides the opportunity to continue to collect works by Southern photographers like Sally Mann or take a chance on an unknown artist and discover a new rising star. Ultimately, I have a high level of trust in the artistic vision of the High and know my gift will be put to good use.”

The thought of Joy’s estate gift having a lasting impact for years to come is inspiring to her. “I’ve devoted my career to working for non-profits, and I saw this planned gift as a way of influencing the future in a positive way,” she said. “There is so much the High has done to bring the key issues of our day like social justice and civil rights to the forefront through art. That is one of the reasons why I chose photography. It’s such a powerful tool to facilitate and motivate a dialogue around these important issues in a supportive learning environment.

“I would love if my gift inspired more people to leave planned gifts to help the High acquire important artworks in the collecting areas they enjoy.”

To learn how to include the High in your estate plans, contact or call 404-733-4379.