The Museum celebrated a new collection and a new era in collecting with a series of events held between Thursday, October 23 and Sunday, October 26. The many participants over the three-day event were given a sense of the importance of the African acquisitions that are new to both the Museum and to the community.
On Thursday evening the Museum hosted a lecture by Professor Robin Poynor, a member of the faculty in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. Professor Poynor discussed the roles played by these newly acquired objects of African art in the lives of those who lived in traditional African societies. He showed many of the Museum’s woodcarvings, weavings, ceramics, and metal objects in the context of their use through photography depicting homes, communities, and public performances. For the past year, Professor Poynor has served as the Museum’s consulting curator to select works of art for the collection, and to provide information and scholarship relative to their acquisition. He worked closely with the donors and with the Museum staff to create the exhibition Art for Life’s Sake: An African Collection for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
The weekend events also included a Friday lunchtime presentation for the Museum’s Collectors Society that featured the collector and donor of the African art acquired as a gift by the Museum—Dileep Mehta of Atlanta, Georgia. As a professor of finance, Dr. Mehta traveled extensively, and worked over a period of many years to build his collection of African materials. On Sunday, the Museum hosted a combination Family Day for African Art, a Jazz Jams featuring the Jazz students in the program at BTW, as well as a performance by the BTW Dance Theater, Out of Africa. There were hands-on activities in the studios, artist’s demonstrations, and tours of the new African collection for the public.
This exciting weekend of programs caps off a season of exploration for our staff, docents, and public as we learned more about the wonderful objects that have now found a home in Montgomery. We look forward to sharing them often with our audiences.
Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art
View highlights of the African Family Day here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAS-stIY540&list=UUr4m6_kMNuu97FChx2L00sA
At the tender age of nine, Akira Sims knows first hand what it takes to get her name on a wall of fame at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Sims says, ”I really like to create things.”
For 17 weeks, Sims and 54 other Wares Ferry Road Elementary school students painted, drew, or sculpted their way through the Museum’s Artist in Residence program also known as Learning Through Art. Thursday, May 22, the third graders got to see their creativity pay off. The Museum held a reception in their honor. Sims and her family were the first to arrive that evening. Sims says, “I was surprised because I have never seen art work in a museum before.” Sims creation “The Life of a Tree” and nearly five-dozen other third graders’ works are currently displayed in the ARTWORKS Corridor exhibition. She says, “I drew this in a day.”
Ed Drozdowski is the principal at Wares Ferry Road elementary school. Drozdowski says, “I watched the kids doing this stuff. It’s a lot different seeing it now here at the Museum.” This is the first year for the program funded in part by a grant from the Hearst Foundations.
Art educators Jean Kocher and Laura Boquin helped enrich the children’s artistic abilities during each of the weekly sessions. Professional artists also visited the classes, sharing their artwork and special techniques. The program encourages the students’ critical thinking and literacy skills through the regular use of visual thinking strategies (VTS). Drozdowski says he wished Wares Ferry’s entire student body could participate. “This is fabulous. We are taking baby steps.” His wish might just come true in the future. His students will continue exploring art for another year thanks to help from a Montgomery Kiwanis Club grant.
The student exhibition will be on view until June 29. Perhaps seeing these works will encourage more youngsters like Akira Sims to take an interest in the arts.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Hear Ed Drozdowski discuss the Learning Through Art program at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIj3fl563ek&feature=youtu.be.
Four hours of creative, innovative, and family-friendly entertainment attracted a crowd of more than 2300 spectators to this year’s 25th-annual FLIMP festival. A cool breeze accompanied by plenty of sunshine made for a spectacular day, and the first partnership between the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Booker T. Washington Magnet High School made it one to remember.
The question everyone asked during Saturday’s event was, “Exactly what is a FLIMP?” Even though they weren’t sure of the answer, that didn’t stop participants from getting their faces painted, making and breaking piñatas, or enjoying other arts and crafts. Just when you thought you had seen it all, nearly two-dozen dogs, decked out from head to paw, strolled through the parking lot for the return of the Do-Dah parade. That procession actually helped four canines get adopted from the Montgomery Humane Society.
The echoes of voices from BTW’s choir and the melodies from the school’s band filled the air as everyone walked the grounds of the MMFA. For those who didn’t want to be outside, no worries, there was plenty of entertainment on the inside of the Museum. Who knew you could take an animal’s bones and other objects and turn them into a jam session? Drummer Dave Holland showed a packed gallery, how to do just that. Holland even let them volunteer to be part of his percussion section.
As this year’s festival came to a close, the reminder of two fun-filled days shared among local students and adults remained on display from 2014’s Chalk Art competition. If you drive out right now, you might still be able to get a glimpse of the chalk artists’ transformation of the front parking lot into an art gallery.
However, don’t worry if you missed out on all the fun this year. The FLIMP Festival will take place at the same place and time next year. We will plan on welcoming you then.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations