Museums and Communities News
April 2013 
Kwasi Asare, master weaver and CEO of Dento Mills in Ghana, presents a kente cloth to students at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, AL.
Image courtesy of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

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.

Boston Museums Offer Free Admission Following Marathon Bombing 

From The Boston Globe: Following the tragic Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, ICA Boston, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum all offered free admission on various days this week. "What the works of art in our care show is what the human mind and the human hands can do at their greatest and their most inspired," said MFA Boston director Malcolm Rogers. "All of our hearts are constricted at the horror and cruelty," said ICA director Jill Medvedow. "These are ways in which we hope to provide some solace or contemplation."    



Montclair Artist Prize Connects, Unites Local Communities 

From The Montclair Times: The Montclair Art Museum has partnered with Bloomfield College, also in Montclair, NJ, to commission an artwork that connects the two community institutions. The two institutions awarded the first Bloomfield Avenue Prize to artists Karina Aguilera Skvirsky and Liselot van der Heijden for their Bloomfield Avenue Hotline. Yellow phone booths were installed at the MAM and Bloomfield College; guests who pick up the receiver at one institution can hear voices from the other. Guests can also record their own messages to be played on the Hotline. The work debuted at the Montclair Art Museum's Free First Thursday event on April 4.     



Jule Collins Smith Museum Hosts Ghanian Master Weaver 

 In February, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art hosted Kwasi Asare at their museum for a demonstration of kente cloth weaving. Students from Russell County, Alabama visited the museum for a demonstration from Mr. Asare, who is a master weaver and CEO of Dento Mills in Ghana, a large producer of kente cloth. Students then created weavings of their own on miniature looms. Images of the students' visit are available at the Museum's Facebook page



Imagine Nation Family Day at the Westmoreland  

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, PA hosted an "Imagine Nation" family day on Saturday, March 23 that featured art-making, scavenger hunts, and local talent. Starwood Elementary School fourth-grade students performed dance, music and poetry in response to the Museum's landscape paintings. Images of the performances, art-making, and even hula-hooping in the galleries are available at the Westmoreland's Facebook page.  



AAMD Museums Celebrate Youth Art Month

In celebration of Youth Art Month, two AAMD museums displayed artwork by local students in their galleries during the month of March. The Indiana University Art Museum displayed over 120 works by K-6 students in Monroe County. The  Portland Museum of Art showcased over 100 artworks by students throughout the state of Maine, from kindergarten through high school. The two institutions have hosted these student exhibitions for eighteen and nineteen years, respectively.