This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news with an impressive organizational turnaround, exhibitions exploring history and religion, and an opportunity for museum visitors to help break a world record.
After digging out of a financial hole, Everson Museum is charting a new course
“Until about 15 years ago, the Everson museum was the authority on ceramic art, nationally and internationally. But the museum lost its focus. The ceramics exhibition sat, nearly untouched, for about 30 years. The other exhibits rarely changed.” Following the appointment of CEO and Director Elizabeth Dunbar in 2014, changes have been made. Whereas in 2012 and 2013, the museum had deficits of $500,000, and in 2014 exhibitions had to be canceled in the face of an $800,000 loss, the museum is now in the black. A new curator has been hired. The museum began charging visitors a flat fee, instead of free admission with additional charges for special exhibitions. The I.M. Pei building is undergoing renovations to the auditorium and converting space for gallery and classroom use. “Dunbar has also worked to get more fun into the building, on its grounds and out into the community. Last year, the museum had more than 6,000 people attend programs and about 1,400 people reached through community events. Before Dunbar arrived, the outreach was nearly nonexistent and the numbers of people who attended programs was a third of what was done last year.” NYSCA supports the Everson Museum through our Museum, Electronic Media & Film, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.
Speak, poet: Buffalo poetry scene is diverse, vibrant and fresh
“Buffalo’s poetry culture – like the city itself – is clawing its way from shadowy bars and coffeehouses into the streets, stages and public consciousness. Poetry in Buffalo is not new but a slew of players are keeping it as fresh as the Main Street medical campus, and growing just as fast.” Singled out is NYSCA Literature and Arts Education grantee Just Buffalo. “The JBWC reaches out for young poets to nurture and create Buffalo’s next generation of literary voices by providing a free after-school program for writers ages 12 to 18. ‘While the traditional reading is and will always be prevalent, I’ve been so excited to see more and more events that celebrate and present poetry in innovative ways,’ said Robin Jordan of the center. ‘It’s really important that young people realize language has tremendous power and it can be used to empower you as well as to enslave you,’ added Buffalo News Poetry Editor Bob Pohl. ‘Drawing young people into poetry is a vital force for this country because all art is transformative.’
Muslim Culture Show a Hit at Children’s Museum of Manhattan
“An exhibition about Muslim cultures around the world is proving popular at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The museum has seen an increase in visitors since the show opened, with a third of those visitors from outside the New York area. The show, called ‘America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,’ runs through December and will open in February 2018 at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by a run in 2019 at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia…The exhibition includes interactive features like a global marketplace where children can pretend to buy spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their catch at the Zanzibar fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea and design outfits inspired by West African tailors who work in New York. And they can explore ancient trade routes on a camel or an Indian Ocean boat called a dhow. The exhibit is decorated with geometric tile designs, patterned rugs, ceramics and other works of art. A 3-D installation shows mosque architecture from the Maldives to China.” NYSCA supports the Children’s Museum through our Museum Program.
Everything is awesome for Lego fans at ‘Brick Fest Live’ this weekend at the Hall of Science
“This is the chance to build bridges with friends and family — and some walls, skyscrapers and garages, too. Brick Fest Live, a two-day Lego fan jubilee, will take place at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this weekend. Hands-on attractions and activities will rule both days. In the Collaborative Building section, enthusiasts will work together with colorful 1-inch by 1-inch Lego bricks to create a floor mosaic that will be submitted for consideration by Guinness World Records.” Also included: Nerdy Derby, in which visitors can design, build and race cars on special tracks in the museum’s Viscusi Auditorium; a 7-foot-tall model of Woody from the movie “Toy Story” made entirely of Lego bricks; and a Big Brick Pit with 100,000 2×4 inch red bricks for visitors to work with. NYSCA supports the Hall of Science through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
New exhibit marks 100th anniversary of U.S. entering World War I
“The Buffalo History Museum is marking the [World War I] centennial by opening a new exhibit that explores what was supposed to be ‘the war to end all wars.’ That exhibit includes tributes to Western New Yorkers who served and sacrificed for the war effort. The exhibit known as ‘For Home and Country’ features numerous mementos from a war that had begun in 1914. The U.S. committed to the war in 1917 but American soldiers didn’t see combat until the following year…The newly-opened exhibit in the Buffalo History Museum remembers the buildup with a series of posters in its main hall, including the iconic Uncle Sam ‘I Want You’ Army recruitment advertisement. Hanging on a wall as part of the exhibit space on the ground level is a large banner which reads, ‘Buffalo Will See It Through.’… The museum’s exhibit also includes displays of authentic uniforms and equipment that American fighters used in the field. A mock-up of a machine gun position is featured.” NYSCA supports the Buffalo History Museum through our Museum Program.
From Albany Pro Musica: a month of events addressing peace
“Panels, performances, services and lectures on peace and reconciliation are among the packed slate of events supplementing Albany Pro Musica’s …May 6, rendering of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” an anti-war choral work by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins. Upcoming peace-related programming includes…presentations on the piece with APM singers and artistic director Jose Daniel Flores-Caraballo; a…panel on “Reconciliation as a Key to Societal Healing”; a…seminar and reading by author and Iraq War interrogator Eric Fair…[a] Rockefeller Institute event on global peace and reconciliation; a series of interfaith performances and services…; and “Facing the Truth: Lessons from Post-Apartheid South Africa,”…at the Albany Institute of History & Art…The ambitious and wide-ranging lineup follows last year’s “City of Immigrants,” Albany Pro Musica’s month-long series of multidisciplinary events that anticipated its April concert.” NYSCA supports Albany Pro Musica through our Regional Economic Development Council Program.