Museums and Communities News
December 2012 
Staff from The Phillips Collection and Iona's Wellness & Arts Center lead a group of seniors at a Creative Aging Session in The Phillips' galleries.
More on this program and the corresponding exhibition is below.
Image courtesy of The Phillips Collection/James R. Brantley.

Whether it's art therapy for Alzheimer's patients or veterans; specially tailored educational program for home schoolers; work with juveniles under court jurisdiction; or innovative public art that brings the art outside museum walls, art museums everywhere are hard at work sharing their collections with their publics and engaging with their communities in new and diverse ways. 


Following is our monthly roundup of news stories demonstrating the myriad ways different community and outreach programs at AAMD member museums.

Creative Aging at The Phillips Collection

From November is National Arts and Health Month. To celebrate, The Phillips Collection mounted "Creative Aging," an exhibition of artwork created by seniors in a collaborative outreach program at The Phillips and Iona's Wellness & Arts Center. Over the last year, seniors with Alzheimer's/memory loss, Parkinson's disease, and other chronic conditions have met at the museum to view and discuss works of art. The group then creates their own art inspired by works they viewed at The Phillips with an art therapist from Iona; many of these artworks were displayed in "Creative Aging." More on this program is available at and the Washingtonian.



Veterans lead collection tours at Saint Louis Art Museum 

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Saint Louis Art Museum recognized Veterans' Day through tours of the museum's collection led by veterans. Several docents-in-training at SLAM who were also veterans of the Vietnam War came up with the idea of veteran-led tours. The veterans designed their own military-themed journey through the collection, including works that both directly and indirectly related to military history. The veteran docents included everything from ancient military equipment to Monet's "Water Lilies" - Monet would have heard the battles of the Western Front from his Giverny home.



Eleven-year-old curates collection at The Clark Art Institute

From the Berkshire Eagle: The Clark Art Institute has a new curator - eleven-year-old Giselle Ciulla. Her design won out over hundreds of curatorial proposals from people eighteen and younger, all created on The Clark's uCurate software. Judges chose Giselle due to her "interesting and fresh perspective" as well as the diversity of her selections. "I want to think about what the artist felt," Giselle says of her connection to the artworks. The Clark will host two more exhibitions curated by members of the public. You can meet Giselle and hear about her new curatorial experience here.  



Veterans share their experiences at the Worcester Art Museum 

From the Worcester Telegram: On Veterans' Day, the Worcester Art Museum hosted "Intergenerational Conversations with U.S. Veterans" in conjunction with "Kennedy to Kent State," an exhibition of photographs of the US from 1958-1974. For the event, veterans of the Vietnam War and their families gathered at the museum to discuss their experiences with this polarizing conflict both on the front and back in the States at the war's end. "We thought we should have those veterans who experienced the times as part of the discussion, as well as show our sincere appreciation of those who served," said Cory Shepherd, the museum's outreach coordinator.  



Vero Beach Museum of Art hosts Warhol-themed food drive

From Last month, the Vero Beach Museum of Art collaborated with Harvest Food & Outreach Center to hold a canned soup drive for needy families ahead of Thanksgiving. Museum visitors were offered free admission to the museum (including the POP ART REVISITED exhibition) if they brought in a can of soup for Harvest Food & Outreach Center. Publix Supermarket donated 600 cans of Campbell's Soup to kick-start the drive; these cans were then transformed into a sculpture located at the Museum's entrance to publicize the food drive. The sculpture was created by Museum School faculty and members of the Museum's teen after-school program.



Tacoma Art Museum exhibits work by local seniors  

From the Tacoma News Tribune: The Tacoma Art Museum is hosting an exhibition of artwork by local seniors, in conjunction with Franke Tobey Jones, a non-profit senior center in Tacoma. The show features 80 pieces from over 70 artists in a variety of media, from painting and drawing to pottery and beadwork. To encourage the senior artists to continue creating, artworks must have been made in the last two years to be eligible for exhibition. More details on the exhibition and participating artists-including an 82-year-old beadworker-are available in the News Tribute article.



Indiana University Art Museum goes green with LED lighting 

The Indiana University Art Museum recently installed LED lighting in some of the museum's galleries, in a bid to not only go green by reducing energy use but also improve visitor experience with artworks on view. The LED bulbs will only require replacement once every five years; the quality of light is also gentler on delicate works of art, and will allow visitors to view artworks in truer color spectrum than conventional incandescent bulbs. "When you show art in a balanced spectrum, you're seeing it in as pure a form as possible," museum editor Linda Baden said. More information is available at the IU News Room.   



Bass Museum of Art Launches Public Art Program

On November 2, the Bass Museum of Art launched tc: temporary contemporary, an ongoing public art program that displays site-specific contemporary art works in unexpected places throughout Miami Beach. Locations for artworks include a Walgreens pharmacy window display and a gas station café, among others. temporary contemporary is one of several arts projects in Miami Beach that received funding from creative placemaking consortium ArtPlace. More on the program is available at the Miami New Times.