Art goes outside and other stories this year
A look back at visual art occurrences of 2009
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Currier reaches out
In its first full year since the Currier Museum of Art reopened in March of 2008 after a major expansion, the Manchester institution tailored its programming to be accessible to the general public.
While the regional fine arts museum includes work by Warhol, Picasso, Matisse and Monet, and objects that are centuries old, there were plenty of opportunities this year for the public to interact with and see work by contemporary regional artists and artisans.
The Currier promoted their “Turning Wood Into Art” exhibit in August at a Fisher Cats game, with local wood-turners demonstrating turning wooden bats. The Currier encouraged photographers, amateur and professional, to submit work for a “Photo Slam.” New Hampshire Furniture Masters moved their annual auction from the Seacoast to the Currier. First Thursday monthly evening museum events included “The Way Beer Works,” with the president of Smuttynose during the special exhibit, “The Way Things Work: The Art of David Macaulay.”
Macaulay of Vermont gave presentations at the Currier in conjunction with the exhibit, which showcased materials from the illustrator and author of The Way Things Work. While the display gave insight into his artistic process, the exhibit choice also seemed like a draw for the science-, tech- and engineering-minded.
The Currier’s Spotlight New England series launched with a whimsical site-specific installation from Kirsten Reynolds of Newmarket, which closed in 2009. She concurrently worked with teens at the Currier Art Center’s Open Studio program on “The Former Mistake.”
The Currier also went full-circle, exhibiting work from a private print collection of a New Hampshire couple who were influenced in their collecting by a Currier director in the 1950s and 60s (Evolution of a Shared Vision: The David and Barbara Stahl Collection).
The public art inventory grew in Nashua and Manchester. Trustees of the Alex Shapiro Charitable Trust donated a bronze bull sculpture by Chris Williams of Essex, Mass., for the former Jac Pac Foods site. It was installed at the east side of the Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge in Manchester.
“Vivace,” by Jonathan and Evelyn Clowes of Walpole, was installed on the front lawn of the Verizon Wireless Arena in May, with the arena’s percent for art fund.
Manchester neighborhood group Eagle Eyes had a busy summer painting murals as an anti-graffiti measure with help from local artists and youth.
Nashua added four more public sculptures to the five created last year. Volunteers, arts patrons, businesses and artists pitched in for a second Nashua International Sculpture Symposium in the spring. It was under the umbrella and direction of the Andres Institute of Art Sculpture Park in Brookline, which is up to about 60 outdoor sculptures created at its annual symposia over 11 years. Andres Institute has been building what looks like a sensible exchange this year with Beaver Brook Association in Hollis.
And other news
New Hampshire Institute of Art continued expanding its property in downtown Manchester. They opened their 11th building in October with dorm, classroom, studio and office space at 88 Lowell St. It involved moving and reusing Manchester’s first high school. A six-story contemporary building is attached, and NHIA hopes for LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the project.
After a preliminary fall series in 2008, the weekly Concord Arts Market held full spring and fall seasons in downtown Concord.
ArtSpider.net launched as an online network of artists in New Hampshire.
Robin Ann Peters has been hosting a weekly arts radio show on WSMN 1590 AM radio station.
Kimball-Jenkins School of Art in Concord had asked California artist Michael Garlington to exhibit at the school about a year and a half ago. However, once the photography show, “Portraits from the Belly of the Whale,” went up in June, the school soon suffered an unfortunate art theft.
Manchester hosted a New Hampshire site for “24-Hour Comics Day.”
Erwan Le Bot visited Manchester for the first time, after spending about a year painting street scenes of the city using Google Street View. The 36-year-old artist lives in Brest, France.
Active area artist Elaine Farmer opened White Birch Fine Art in Londonderry.
The Underground M.A.P. Project moved out of Lowell Street in Manchester.
Revolving Museum in Lowell, Mass., moved out of their building into Western Avenue Studios in Lowell.
Federal stimulus money became available for some arts job retention this year. However, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts faced a struggle for funding during a tough state budget cycle, and ultimately lost its director, Rebecca Lawrence, and other staff.