The museum's mission is to enrich lives by offering art experiences that stimulate the senses, intrigue the intellect, and bring joy to the spirit. In order to fulfill the mission, the museum offers a variety of programs: Exhibitions: Exhibitions are the heart and soul of a museum. Our exhibition department searches for the best local to international art that we can find and afford. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Studio Art Quilts Association (SAQA) with amazing art quilts from all over the world. The museum shows this exhibition every three years. Also every three years we host "The Best of the Best" which is an exhibit of Southern Oregon high school art. This ... read more The museum's mission is to enrich lives by offering art experiences that stimulate the senses, intrigue the intellect, and bring joy to the spirit. In order to fulfill the mission, the museum offers a variety of programs: Exhibitions: Exhibitions are the heart and soul of a museum. Our exhibition department searches for the best local to international art that we can find and afford. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Studio Art Quilts Association (SAQA) with amazing art quilts from all over the world. The museum shows this exhibition every three years. Also every three years we host "The Best of the Best" which is an exhibit of Southern Oregon high school art. This year we had to create a virtual exhibit because COVID-19 closed the school two weeks before we were to go live. The teachers photographed their student's art and we turned the images into a wonderful video. The original version is 24 minutes long and has had over 1000 views on YouTube. Here's a link to the shorter 4 minute version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcnDi9EdfGM&t=16s Another very popular exhibit is the Membership Show. In fact, having this exhibit is a great testament to how many great artists we have in Southern Oregon. A very popular local (Ashland, Oregon) artist has frequent exhibits at the museum. Her name is Betty LaDuke and she is a champion for challenged people. Her last exhibit here was entitled "Social Justice." Betty is not afraid to depict politically charged topics. We were supposed to host a fabulous traveling exhibit called Reclaimed Creations (sculptures made from "stuff") in October but we had to postpone it until October of 2021. We are looking forward to it being an educational as well as inspiring exhibit focused on waste and what can happen with it creatively. Classes for adults and children: The classes are offered year round. The children's workshops only occur in the summer. We invite many local artists to teach and have a variety ranging from needlefelting, clay, collage, to traditional forms of sketching and painting. This year we have had these classes on Zoom and now that the weather is nice, we are having sketching experiences in a park. Concerts: The museum joined The Listening Room which is an organization featuring international independent musicians. The concerts were meant to bring more people to the museum and it was working well. We had to cancel all concerts for this year after February, however, we are hoping to resume them again next year. They were very popular. Poetry Sharing: For over ten years we have sponsored a poetry event. For two hours on the second Friday of each month, people gather to present and listen. It's a great way to gather and share experiences with others. The group is an amazing mix of people of all ages and walks of life. Community Collaborations: We have partnered with the Josephine Community Library to present an educational hands-on event. Our most recent topic was in conjunction with the library's theme of mythical creatures. The virtual class was for teens and they learned to draw fairy wings and dragon wings. We were very pleased that over 20 teens were engaged in this activity. These events are planned for one per quarter. The museum is frequently used as a place for workshops or meetings for outside organizations. The museum is housed in an historic building (built in 1905) and located in the heart of the historic district of downtown Grants Pass. It has become a major hub of activity and a gathering place. We were named "the best place to visit" on First Friday Art Night. During the three-hour event we will have between 300-500 visitors, depending on the exhibit and the weather. Field Trips: Probably the most stunning program we present are the fifth-grade field trips to the museum. Josephine County does not offer art in the elementary grades. Three years ago, the museum decided to implement a bit of art education for fifth graders. There are approximately 900+ fifth grade students in the county and we have been able to include about 500 of them so far each year. (This year the program had to stop and we only saw 250 students.) The adventure includes a 90-minute visit to the museum. We pay for the buses to get the classes to the museum because otherwise the district could not afford to do this. We see one class at a time of about 30 students. We first discuss art, museums, perception and have a general conversation about why the students are at the museum and the importance of museums. This is followed by a 30-minute presentation of the history of art (which the students really enjoy!) After the presentation they are engaged in a hands-on activity involving color theory. At the very end of the visit each student receives an art bag full of art supplies. We felt that since many of the children do not have art supplies - we should supply them with some so they can explore some of the ideas they just learned about. We have had comments from the students like: "I didn't know I could just go out in the backyard and draw what I see," and "No one has ever asked me for my opinion before." In order to pay for the field trips we have applied for grants and have a few donors who are so excited about this idea they have offered to pay for parts of it. This year, because we couldn't see as many students as we had planned for, we created a video of the presentation and sent it to all of the teachers to share with their classes on Zoom. We received many thanks and the video is still getting views on YouTube. Here is a link to a video about the field trips: https://www.youtube.com/watch v=xuagi_IAhAc&feature=youtu.be And here is a link to the presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJH2A2-ErfQ Permanent Collection: The museum has an ever growing collection of art which has been donated. Interesting to note there are is more art from women (over 50%) in the collection, which is unusual for a museum. This year we have charged the acquisition committee to focus on Diversity. We are contacting artists in the Pacific Northwest who are either from a diverse culture or create art about diversity. We are hoping to really enhance our collection. The challenge for any museum is to stay vital and interesting. We do our best to do that.
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