From the director: new connections in a new year

Plains Art Museum Director Colleen Sheehy

As we start a new year, I want to wish you a time of fulfillment, fun, learning, and inspiration. I know that you can find all that at Plains Art Museum, whether from taking a class, visiting our exhibitions, or having lunch in the midst of our Art = Food installation, where Liz Miller’s Nefarious Hybrid blossoms along the walls and beams of Café Muse. I hope you’ll connect with us and with art, artists, and ideas in the many opportunities you’ll find described elsewhere on our website.

Connect to fresh ideas and talent in our region through Art on the Plains XI. We’ve taken new approaches this time, expanding the show from one to two galleries; inviting installation art—a form of sculpture that involves a spatial configuration of objects rather than just one object—and we’ve invited video art for the first time. In works by 47 artists from four states, you’ll find a very up-to-date look at contemporary art making in our region. Juried by Hesse McGraw, an artist, writer, and chief curator at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Neb., AOP XI presents innovative, provocative artwork, with something sure to surprise and please everyone, whether it’s Raina Belleau’s full-size sculpture of a black bear on an Oriental rug or Mayumi Amada’s delicate pattern of flowers made from plastic water bottles. Connect with Hesse at the opening on Saturday, January 28, when he will give a gallery talk about the show.

This year, you’ll hear and see us inviting you to connect with the Museum and each other in our “Let’s Connect” campaign. We want to connect with our audiences and community in many ways. We want you to connect with each other through art and learning. We offer many ways to participate. We strive to be networked with you and the community in many ways—through personal contact and conversation, through our website and blog opportunities, through your involvement and collaboration in programs and exhibitions, or in our involvement throughout the community.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know two people that have been impacted by PAM: Joan Hruby and her nine-year-old son, Frank. I first met them in August 2010, when they were part of our In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre residency and performances, a collaboration with Trollwood Performing Arts. Frank later wrote to me, explaining that the experience had “helped me discover a new part of my life and helped me to be a better person.” That is a pretty profound impact on a young boy! Frank and Joan often spend Thursday evenings at the Museum, looking at art in the galleries and making origami and other art projects in Goldberg Art Lounge, our family drop-in space.

Frank and Joan have discovered that connecting with PAM means connecting with ideas, inspiration, and each other—and that can be transformative. We invite you, too, to connect with us this year—be inspired, be transformed.