Director's Note 11/1/16

November 1, 2016

The maple foliage--red, full--is especially dramatic this year among so many trees stripped by last week's storm. I noticed this on Monday as I traversed the garden under a dull sky, the wind colder than expected. The trees and their seasonal changes are visible every day, from my window or out on the grounds, but some of what goes on at Lynden is less visible, and many of these less visible activities seem to be concentrated in the late fall.

A good portion of our less visible work falls into the category of support for artists. We think of Lynden as a laboratory for artists, educators, students, and the public, and we are constantly looking for new ways to deepen or enhance the experience of artists working on projects here at Lynden. Necessarily, some of this support takes place behind the scenes, away from public view: some kinds of discussion, in order to be truly beneficial, need to take place in small rooms and with a small group of invited guests. On Saturday we convened such a group for an intimate, participatory symposium on History, Objects, and the Black Imagination in relation to Fo Wilson's project, Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. Julie McGee acted as moderator to a stellar panel of scholars that included Michelle Wright, Huey Copeland, Brandy Culp, and Jason Young. The invited participants included a range of scholars (from as far away as London), artists, educators, and students. In her response to all those who attended, Fo listed many of the words and phrases that she had recorded in her notebook during the day--"refusals, resistances, reversals, the peculiar, liminality, tensions, literacy, legibility, permeability, ontological vulnerability, subversion, the in-between, the fallacy of blackness, curiosity as a form of agency, objects are us"-- and described the discussion, the many new readings of her work, as "richer than i could have imagined." Many thanks to the Chipstone Foundation for their participation in the Eliza project.

Perhaps our most significant contribution to the support of artists is our annual facilitation of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists program. Each year we invite local artists to apply for these awards (we received 151 applications this year), and we invite three curators to come in from around the country to select two established fellows and three emerging fellows. The artists in each category receive $20,000 and $10,000 respectively, participate in an exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art, and create and implement public programming in the summer and following autumn. Of course the application preparation and jurying go on behind closed doors, but this year's jurors--JoAnne Northrup, Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Director and Chief Curator, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago--will give a free public talk on Thursday, November 3 at the Haggerty Museum. And watch for the announcement of this year's Nohl fellows on Monday, November 14.

Fortunately, a great deal of what we do does take place in full view. Pat Hidson and Tori Tasch, who were familiar figures at Lynden during their residency, return this month to open Draw Print Fold Paint, an exhibition of their (mostly) individual work. Hidson will be showing paintings and drawings, Tasch will be installing book-works made during her year at the sculpture garden, including her Centerfold Series, and some of the cyanotype flags the artists made together during their residency will work their way inside, too.

We begin our holiday giftmaking workshops in November (make blocks from trees, make decorative containers and swags from natural materials, make garlic baskets). Jamie Bertsch is offering a weaving workshop this weekend, and we have a family workshop later in the month that focuses on felt vessels. In addition to our regular activities for kids of all ages--Tuesdays in the Garden, weekly art drop-in, homeschool days and school's out workshops--we have a special pre-holiday art drop-in on the day before Thanksgiving. Naomi Cobb reintroduces Project FeederWatch with an orientation to get you started on counting the birds that pass through Lynden, and the Women's Speaker Series hosts a fall bookclub night with local author Lauren Fox. She will join Boswell Book Company's Daniel Golden and Jane Glaser in making recommendations for your bookclub (or you!). We close the month with a post-holiday dog day, an opportunity for you and your canine to walk off any over-indulgence.

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