Friday, March 16, 2012

Community Collaborations

The Addison Education department has a deep commitment to the “reading” of artworks. At the basis of much of what we do with classes is the belief that images, just like written texts, tell a story and communicate an idea. The department has been delving further into that idea in preparation and research for the spring exhibitions. Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography, In Character: Artists’ Role Play in Photography And Video, and Life Lines: Elizabeth Enders all deal with aspects of literature and the written word. Day’s role as a publisher and noted bibliophile, as well as the cultural and literary references that bubble up in In Character only further solidify the theme of images as visual text, used to communicate ideas and philosophies. Enders’ artwork addresses more abstract themes that relate to the written word through mark-making and gestural lines. Therefore, it’s only natural, or so we think, that the Addison Gallery of American Art has teamed up with the Memorial Hall Library for two collaborations.

March marks Memorial Hall Library’s Genealogy month. As part of Genealogy month programming, on March 13th, residents of Andover joined together in the Addison’s Museum Learning Center to discuss some portraits that help unravel the mystery of the Addison Gallery’s namesakes as well as critically analyze their own family portraits. Participants were asked to bring family portraits and photographs while the Addison contributed portraits of the Addison family along with a range of family portraits from the permanent collection. The evening began with sharing from the education department on how curators and scholars have “read” the Addison’s portraiture to find out more about the Addison family and the connection between the painted ancestors and the woman for whom the gallery was named. After learning how scholars read portraits to define characteristics and people, the group worked together to investigate traits and characteristics of sitters in the other family portraits. Finally participants shared and spoke about the photographs and portraits they brought along using some of the techniques practiced with the educator.

The Addison education department is also hosting an event in collaboration with the Memorial Hall Library’s AndoverReads program. Inspired by Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, the Addison will be inviting community members to investigate artworks in the permanent collection that incorporate interesting uses of color. The narrator in The Book Thief often alludes to color as a way to describe an emotion, feeling, or to describe people and landscapes. Join us on April 25th for a participatory discussion in the Museum Learning Center. For more information or to RSVP (space is limited) please refer to the Memorial Hall Library event calendar.