Arts & Entertainment

The Currier Museum of Art Has Reopened to the Public

New Classrooms Signal a Fresh Start for Programs
 

     MANCHESTER - The Currier Museum of Art reopened to the public on Thursday, April 1st. At the same time, it will unveil newly renovated and expanded classrooms. The Art for Vets Studios will host expanded veterans and community programs, made possible by CARES funds administered through the state and Swim With a Mission.

     “We are thrilled to be reopening. The museum belongs to the community as a place of discovery and learning, but also as a place to escape from a tough year,” stated Alan Chong, director of the museum. “Our new classrooms and exhibitions will launch us into the future.”

Art for Vets at the Currier offers opportunities for veterans, active service members, and their families to come together and enjoy the benefits of the creative experience. The new classrooms in the museum will foster social connections through looking, art-making, and guided conversations. More information is available here.

     A new exhibition will also open on April 1. The Body in Art: From the Spiritual to the Sensual will explore the creative ways artists through the ages have used the human body

as a means of expression. These meanings included religion, passion, joy, and a sense of our own mortality. The past year has reminded us that we are all fragile but share a great deal in common.

     The Currier Museum celebrates the art of Tomie dePaola, the great book illustrator who died a year ago this month. The museum formed a close bond with Tomie when his work

was exhibited in 2018, and this new exhibitionof original drawings launches a fund set up in his honor to support art education for young people.

     Also on view is Critical Cartography: Larissa Fassler in Manchester. The Currier’s artist-in-residence used large-scale maps to capture the strange and sometimes humorous interactions in downtown Manchester.

Creatively Coping With Covid-19

      MILFORD – This past year has been as difficult as any that most of us can remember. But for those in our community operating small businesses, life has been particularly challenging. Surviving has required self-sacrifice, ingenuity, cost cutting and finding new ways to adapt to changing conditions.

Such has been the case at Creative Ventures Gallery on Nashua Street in Milford. Before the pandemic, class attendance was at or near capacity. New exhibitions attracted patrons and guests. First Friday Art Talks were well attended, and then all that just went away, virtually overnight. Hosting of Milford’s Tuesday Morning Coffee and Critique group was placed on hold. And like the flip of a switch Plan B was born.

      “Our mission,” according to Betsy Craumer, owner/operator of Creative Ventures, “includes supporting both our local professional artists and art students. The pandemic has made this objective more challenging, so we have made efforts to adapt to this new reality.”

During the early days of the pandemic, classes became smaller virtually overnight as students hunkered down and stayed home, giving birth to zoom classes and one-on-one online critiques. 

      Those who continued to attend in-person classes wore masks and maintained social distancing. This practice will continue until state regulations allow a return to normal. 

Before the pandemic, the main viewing area in the gallery building was dedicated to showing the work of those speakers who presented during First Friday events. The shuttering of that recurring event provided an opportunity to refocus the venue to feature the work of many of the area’s favorite artists, all of whom have been affected in one way or another by the

closure or postponement of art shows and otheropportunities to sell their art. Artists whose work is on display at the Gallery include but are not limited to William Cheever Turner, Phil Bean, Joan Tierney, Chris Reid, Betty Glass and Howard Muscott.

      Looking ahead with the light at the end of the tunnel in sight, Creative Ventures looks forward to slowly returning to normal activity levels, jump-starting the process by offering two free classes to any new student interested in trying his or her hand at drawing or painting in pastel, acrylic or watercolor. This is a limited

time offer. We have all heard folks saying, “I sure would love to try _________ but don’t want to sign up for a class until I know I will like it.” Problem solved.

      To paraphrase a well-worn sentiment, change is life’s only certainty. That truism has been driven home to all businesses large and small during this past year. One’s ability and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances has been the hallmark of all businesses coping with Covid-19.

APRIL 2021

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