We hope your holidays were wonderful!
What better way to get back into the swing of things, then by meeting Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art? This museum is amazing for so many reasons, but my personal favorite is Tutu the mummy. You'll learn more about her below, but you can also check her out on Facebook (@Tutu Mummy). LOVE it!
Name and Title: Dane Pollei, Director and Chief Curator
Organization Name: Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
Organization Phone Number and Web Site: 405-878-5300, www.mgmoa.org
Give us the gist of your organization, Twitter-style (that means 140 characters or less).
One of the oldest museums in Oklahoma, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art has the broadest art collection showing 8,000 years of human expression. The Museum creates unique exhibitions, has an active schedule of lectures, classes, free community art days, teacher training programs, and school programs.
What does your organization bring to Central Oklahoma?
The Museum brings the world to Oklahoma through an art collection featuring works from ancient Egypt, medieval and Renaissance artwork, American and European paintings, Oriental, Native American, African and contemporary works of art.
Last year, the Mabee-Gerrer worked with more than 7,300 K-12 students. Schools visited from throughout central Oklahoma and from as far away as Talihina and Ringling. Scholars and artists from throughout the United States regularly work with the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
The Museum’s arts integration teacher training uses the permanent collection to provide central Oklahoma teachers with unique ways to meet state curriculum objectives in art, history, science, language arts and social studies.
The Egyptian collection is considered one of, if not the, finest of its kind between Chicago and Los Angeles. The medieval and renaissance holdings are also unique to our state. Interns come from virtually all the area universities and from as far away as the University of Toronto. Several of our interns have gone on to very prominent positions in the museum profession.
List a few things that your organization is looking forward to in the coming year.
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art was selected to host the exhibition “Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation” from January 23 to March 28, 2010. On Friday, January 29th, Dr. Trudy Kawami, Director of Research for the Sackler Foundation will talk about this unique culture in a lecture that is free to the public.
The Museum has support from several generous donors to offset the cost of admission to Oklahoma schools and home school groups as well as a limited number of busing grants so we hope to continue or even increase the number of students visiting the Museum.
How can people get involved with your organization?
People can volunteer, become members, attend workshops or community art days, enroll their kids in After School Art or our summer camps, and visit the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. You can visit www.mgmoa.org to learn more.
Anyone on Facebook can become a fan of the Museum’s page or if you want to have even more fun, you can become a friend of Tutu, the mummy at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. Tutu shares information about her life and times, fun activities for families and educators, and updates you on current Egyptian research and activities at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. She’s got lots of friends but welcomes more!
Name your favorite piece of art or art performance.
My favorite artwork seems to change almost every time I walk through the Mabee-Gerrer Museum galleries or storage area (95% of the collection is in storage.) I have to admit that right now my favorite painting is the Museum’s most recent major acquisition, “Portrait of Michele Surbano, Venetian Ambassador,” by the late renaissance master Tintoretto. The painting was donated to the Museum by Gene and Cheryl Melton of Oklahoma City this past October. It is a great addition to our Renaissance collection. The painting would be a welcome addition to the collection of the Met, the National Gallery, Art Institute or any major museum as there are very few Tintoretto’s in the United States. The fact that it will remain in Oklahoma and be seen by thousands of residents, tourists and school kids makes it very special.
My favorite performance piece is a modern dance commission called “Dream Child Dancing” by Rebecca Stenn and her company. I’m also very impressed with the dance program at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee. Students majoring in dance are part of the Spirit and Soul Dance Ensemble under the direction of Liz Reiter. It is one of the best small modern dance programs I’ve seen and their performances are wonderful.
Which artist would you most like to meet?
There are so many that it’s hard to decide. I would love to have met Kathe Kollwitz. She truly believed that art was for everyone and should promote human rights and social justice.
Of course, I would also like to have met Fr. Gregory Gerrer, O.S.B., the Benedictine monk who was the artist and scholar who helped the monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey establish the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. He had the opportunity in the early 20th century to travel extensively in the United States and throughout the world. His dream was to establish a museum for all Oklahomans who didn’t have that opportunity. All of the items originally selected for the collection, then and now, have been selected because of their quality and ability to teach people about our world. The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is a nonprofit organization that holds that mission of artistic quality and education as our core value.
Because I’m so familiar with the collection, and I have met many of the Benedictine monks that knew Fr. Gerrer, I feel that in some way I have met him.
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