Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Free Family Art Day, May 30, 2007

Today was our first Free Family Art Day of the summer. We are holding a kind of "open house" in the Education Annex every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. from now through June. Today's activity: A Night-time Garden.

The kids drew in day-glo crayons on black paper, and then used needle and thread to produce a stitchery work over the drawing. This art project is inspired by our current exhibition, The Needle's Song: The Folk Art of Ethel Wright Mohamed.

Guest Blogger: Allyn Boone, Director of Development

At the Museum
Allyn Boone

This month, we begin our annual membership campaign at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Membership is important to the Museum, constituting a significant source of income that is used to present exhibitions, offer education programs and care for our nationally recognized collection of art.

Thanks to the generosity of our members, LRMA is able to provide Art Trunks to schools throughout the state free of charge, offer Third Grade Tours to students in a six-county area, and present community events like Heritage Arts Festival and Very Special Arts Festival. LRMA has never charged an admission fee, and our membership campaign allows us to make the Museum open and welcoming.

Our members are critical to our ability of serve our community, and we make sure that they know how important they are. Members receive personal invitations to exhibition openings and priority announcements about classes, programs and trips offered by the Museum. They also receive the LRMA News, an informative newsletter with articles about exhibitions, programs, trips, activities and more.

LRMA offers a membership level that is right for every person. From our $15 student membership to our $2,500 Laureate membership, the Museum has a variety of membership categories, each with its own special benefits.

Depending upon the membership category, members receive discounts on art classes and Museum Shop purchases, and they may also receive special catalogue mailings and invitations to the LRMA Gala Preview Party. Members at the Sponsor ($100) level and above have the opportunity to purchase tickets to attend the annual LRMA Gala, an elegant evening that ushers in the holiday season in Laurel. Memberships beginning at $1,000 include complimentary tickets to the Gala.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art was opened in 1923 as a gift to the community. Considered one of our area’s cultural treasures, the Museum has developed through the years into a dynamic institution devoted to presenting the best examples of the visual arts for the enjoyment and education of our community. When you join the Museum, you become a shareholder in the vision that created LRMA and continues to drive it today. To be the best that we can be, we need the commitment and support of our community.

We invite you to join LRMA and be part of the exciting future that awaits our organization. We are committed to excellence in our collections, exhibitions and programs, and we hope that you will join with us in this quest. To join the Museum or request more information about LRMA membership, please call us at 601-649-6374. We look forward to hearing from you and adding your name to our membership roll.

This article originally appeared in the Laurel Leader-Call.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I can't believe I'm linking to this....

because I say "um" a few too many times, but it's a good short video about the museum history and collections, so I guess I'll have to deal:

My American Lifestyle interview

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guest Blogger: George Bassi, LRMA Director

This is George Bassi's column for the Laurel Leader-Call this week:

At the Museum

A new exhibition, The Needle’s Song: The Folk Art of Ethel Wright Mohamed, has opened in time for Mother’s Day in our Lower Level Galleries. Ethel Wright Mohamed, who died in 1992, is one of Mississippi’s premiere folk artists, and we will be hosting a show of her hand-stitched creations until July 8. The family’s gallery, “Mama’s Dream World,” in Belzoni, Mississippi, is dedicated to Mohamed’s work.

Mohamed’s colorful life in the Mississippi Delta is the focus of the majority of her pieces, many of which tell family stories. She also had a love of history and recreated in needlework many events throughout the history of our country. Often referred to as the “Grandma Moses of Mississippi,” Mohamed is important to our state’s culture, and the exhibit is surely one that will appeal to all generations.

I am particularly grateful to Carol Ivy, Curator of Mama’s Dream World, who was instrumental in assisting us in organizing this exhibition and to the Mississippi Humanities Council for providing grant support.

Exhibitions come to the Museum through a variety of sources, and all are approved through a committee of the Museum’s Board of Directors. The support from our Board is tremendous, and they are an integral part of our public programs.

Recently, three new members were elected to the Board of Directors. I am pleased to welcome Read Diket, Clay Johnson and Eugene Owens to the Museum’s governing authority and look forward to working with them in fulfilling the cultural and educational mission of LRMA.

With the election of new Board members, I want to thank the three members that they are replacing on the Board. Stewart Gilchrist, Pat McLean and Al Rosenbaum are rotating off the Board, and each has served the Museum admirably.

In fact, Pat McLean leaves the Board after serving the past three years as Chair. She has been a tremendous leader and, with her husband Bill, an avid supporter of the Museum and its education program. The Essmueller Company Education Endowment Fund, created by the McLeans, will provide support for the LRMA education program for years to come.

In working with non-profit Boards for almost twenty years, I have learned that some Board members simply cannot be replaced. Stewart Gilchrist is stepping down after 50 years of service to this Museum. It is rare to find such dedication, commitment and passion for an institution, and LRMA will always be grateful to Stewart for his invaluable insight, especially in the areas of collections, governance and finance.

LRMA is a better place because of Stewart, and I wish him and his wife Gene all the best as they move from Laurel this summer. The Gilchrist name has been in our town for more than a century, and it is hard for me to imagine Laurel without them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Two new exhibitions opened this week

- In the Stairwell Gallery, The Town that Timber Built, an exhibition of historic photos from the LRMA Archives, which is our contribution to the celebration of Laurel's 125th anniversary this year.

- In the Lower Level Galleries, The Needle's Song: The Folk Art of Ethel Wright Mohamed, featuring over 30 works by the Belzoni, MS stitchery artist.

For more info, visit the museum website.