Notes from the CCLI Informational Meeting

January 1, 1970 - to
Notes from the CCLI Informational Meeting

A couple weeks ago, the Museum hosted an informational meeting regarding the Creative Community Leadership Institute (CCLI), a program administered by Intermedia Arts, a Minneapolis-based multidisciplinary organization whose goal is to foster community growth through the arts. CCLI provides its attendees with comprehensive, professional-level training and support for local community-engaged artists and community developers. A CCLI session is coming to Fargo next spring.

In his presentation to the two dozen or so in attendance, CCLI faculty member Bill Cleveland stressed that communities in the 21st century require creativity in order to survive and be sustainable. Further, arts and community leaders must be at the table in order for broad initiatives to succeed. CCLI provides those people with the tools and relationships within their respective communities to ensure that community initiatives do, indeed, work. In the Twin Cities, dozens of CCLI alumni form a core group of active community artists, organizers, and developers who have this understanding and this vital skill set in place.

  • Curious about CCLI? Please consider applying if you want to improve the community and already have active community relationships, have experience in community organizing, or work in the economic development, health care, or education sectors. Also, be prepared to work: CCLI demands a commitment 100+ total hours over the course of 4 – 5 months and requires plenty of research, writing and research. At the same time, sessions are plenty of fun and use active arts-based learning (singing, dancing, etc.) in addition to rigorous study.
  • Want to learn more? Click to download a CCLI Info Sheet (PDF).

If you’d like to keep up with CCLI plans as they progress, email me at kkerzman@plainsart.org and I’ll add your name to an email update list for future informational meetings.

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That’s a Big Picnic Table

January 1, 1970 - to
That’s a Big Picnic Table

Artist Jon Offutt (above) puts the finishing touches on his new creation: a giant picnic table that will be part of our Big Country: FMVA Scale the Plains exhibition. Big Country, opening next week, is comprised entirely of large-scale works by 13 FMVA artists. Offutt, who usually spends his time creating blown-glass objects, jumped at the chance to create this picnic table and bring to fruition an idea he’s had for some time.

So, why a big picnic table? Well, remember what it was like when you were, say, five or six years old and sitting at a table with your family? This is Jon’s attempt to recapture that feeling – your feet dangling over the edge, your eyes barely able to see the objects on the table, etc. The effect is convincing:

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Northern Plains Botanic Society Works Their Magic

January 1, 1970 - to
Northern Plains Botanic Society Works Their Magic

It was a little chilly last week, but that was just fine for Jan Carlsen (left) and Katie Cartwright from the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. Jan and Katie are part of the NPBGS crew that tends to the plants on the Museum grounds, and were in the process of putting in red salvia, hostas, petunias, snapdragons, verbena, and alyssum when this photo was taken last Wednesday. We thank them for all of their hard work keeping the Museum looking great.

To learn more about Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society, visit their website here. Also, check out this YouTube video outlining their organization and showcasing their plans for a Japanese garden.

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‘You Like This’ Community Curating Sessions Begin

January 1, 1970 - to
‘You Like This’ Community Curating Sessions Begin

The results are in!  Thanks to all who took the You Like This: A Democratic Approach to the Museum Collection initial survey last month. This survey was the first step in crowdsourcing a community exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection. To learn more about the process, view this fun paper puppet video courtesy of our Museum staff.

The survey asked you to rank your interest pertaining to the art we will feature in the exhibition: types of objects, artists, and modes of art. The top responses for types of objects you’d like to see were paintings, with mixed media work in a close second. The popular responses for what you don’t want to see in this category were historical toys and West African objects. Note taken! Your votes also showed that you’re supportive of most artists’ work, but the favorites were focused on female and local artists. For modes of artwork, the popular vote was in modern/recent works, and the least popular was still life.

Detailed data from the survey and your specific comments will now shape the community curating sessions (phase two of the You Like This process), the first of which was held last week. Eight volunteer community members will meet over the summer months to discuss the survey data and work with Museum staff to learn just what exactly goes into curating an exhibition. Their job is to narrow down the 3,500 objects in the Museum’s collection down to a more manageable number. After that, we will post a final survey for you to handpick each piece of art to feature in the exhibition.

During these curating sessions, we’ll be recording video, audio, and snapping photos that will be posted online and actually using in the exhibition itself. Check out the You Like This discussion page on Facebook and keep an eye on the Museum Blog for a deeper look into the process, sneak peeks at the footage we gather, and join in on the conversation! All ideas are welcome. This is your exhibition for your community.

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Learn More About Herbert and Dorothy Vogel

January 1, 1970 - to
Learn More About Herbert and Dorothy Vogel

Last week, we opened Collectors Humble and Extraordinaire: The Herbert and Dorothy Vogel in Fred J. Donath Gallery. In it, we’re showing 50 works that were once part of the collection of contemporary art aficionados Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a husband and wife duo who spent most of their lives frequenting galleries and artist studios while amassing a collection of over 4,700 objects in the process (by comparison, here at the PAM our permanent collection numbers around 3,500 objects). This isn’t so out of the ordinary until you consider that the Vogels fit all of this art into a one-bedroom New York apartment and purchased all of it on modest incomes. The story then shifts from their impressive collection to the Vogels themselves, two acute observers who display a dedication to collecting that is a rare commodity in the often-cynical world of art.

Here are some resources to help you learn more about these extraordinary collectors.

  • By far, the best document of the Vogels’ collecting life is the 2009 Megumi Sasaki documentary Herb and Dorothy. Sasaki explores how the Vogels see art – how intensely Herb views a painting, for example – and peeks into their personal life. A completely devoted and loving couple, their passion for each other shines through in this film at least as much as their passion for art. The film can be viewed in the Donath Gallery during the run of the Vogel exhibition. You can also view  clips from the film at pbs.org or on YouTube. Herb and Dorothy also streams on Netflix.
  • Visit vogel505o.org to learn about the Vogel 50×50 program instituted by the National Gallery of Art in 2008. The Vogels donated 2,500 works of art to the National Gallery which, in turn, were distributed to a museum in each state. The 50 works in Collectors Humble and Extraordinaire came to Plains Art Museum through this program.
  • In their heyday, Herb and Dorothy weren’t just collecting art – they were influencing artists and institutions through their collecting. This 1975 article from New York Magazine is a record of that influence. Herb and Dorothy are also mentioned in this 1978 New York Magazine article documenting the tensions between New York artists and collectors in the late 70s.
  • Herb and Dorothy Vogel have a Facebook page. It’s not incredibly active, but you can read warm regards from some of their fans and, of course, leave your own.

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