December 2019

Over the past year, thanks to the generous support of our donors, I’ve had the pleasure of watching several significant capital improvements come to fruition: from a new roof on our historic Cushing Building to redesigned studios in our art school to a refurbished apartment in our Griswold House, now ready for an artist to join us as our first Artist-in-Residence.

Yet, from my perspective, the most transformational activities took place in our galleries. The artists, along with the profound issues that inspired their works, were featured in exhibitions such as “The Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa,” “Lalla Essaydi from “Converging Territories” to “Harem Revisited,” William Kentridge “StereoScope,” and Jodie Mim Goodnough “Biophilia.” These exhibitions offered our visitors an opportunity to view the world and world events through someone else’s eyes.

Thoughtful, animated and sometimes heated conversations were sparked. Individual comments were shared through our in-gallery interactive platform, Feedback Loop. Our accompanying public programs provided further opportunities for artists, academics and audiences to continue the dialogue and learn from and about each other.

Ralph Rugoff, the curator of the current Venice Biennale, recently remarked: “the exhibition will aim to underscore the idea that the meaning of artworks are not embedded principally in objects but in conversations . . . what is most important about an exhibition is not what it puts on display, but how audiences can use their experience of the exhibition afterwards, to confront everyday realities from expanded viewpoints and with new energies.” I couldn’t agree more.

I’ll look forward to seeing you in our galleries soon in hopes of striking up a conversation inspired by the art on view.

Norah Diedrich
Executive Director