Museum Outdoor Arts does great job of making do

Exhibit fell through, so items from collection came to the rescue

Posted 7/2/18

What does a museum do when a projected exhibit falls through for one reason or another? If it’s an institution with a rich collection, it can craft a different exhibit by pulling a selection of …

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Museum Outdoor Arts does great job of making do

Exhibit fell through, so items from collection came to the rescue

Posted

What does a museum do when a projected exhibit falls through for one reason or another?

If it’s an institution with a rich collection, it can craft a different exhibit by pulling a selection of varied, but harmonious, objects from its collection in storage.

While objects from the Museum Outdoor Arts appear outside the Indoor Gallery space in the Englewood Civic Center in most directions, with sculptures around the fountain and tucked along surrounding streets, many more objects acquired during the MOA’s active 37-year history are carefully stored in the permanent collection vault.

A summer exhibit of works by the well-known American painter Robert Rauschenberg was postponed when one collector was not able to loan the items expected at this time. (Rescheduled in 2020.)

In short order, the MOA staff mounted an interesting assortment of items it owns, with a good eye for arranging them to draw attention to differing colors, textures, 28 artists’ distinctive visions … Included: Chandler Romeo, Patricia Aaron, Barbara Takenaga, Todd Siler, Craig Marshall Smith, Daniel Sprick and more ...

And, the gallery floor has been stripped to the original concrete and polished, which affects the overall look as it reflects light.

This sampling of the collection will hang until Aug. 3 and includes enlarged snapshots of MOA events through the years, hung in the spacious Atrium Gallery. Then a collection of work

Englewood’s Civic Center began life as a department store when the surrounding area was Cinderella City Shopping Center, and the city wisely had the building retrofitted to hold its municipal offices, as well as the library and additional space that became a gallery, studio, concert hall and more — a wonderful cultural addition to the city, which also has special musical programs for children and adults.

In the meanwhile, there’s a lot of action going on in the spacious art studios at the rear, not seen by the public. For many years, the MOA has hosted a program for younger pre-professional artists, called “Design and Build.”

Headed each year by a master teacher, it enrolls about a dozen college art students for an eight-week daily program with a modest stipend. They will pursue an agreed-upon program, which in the past has resulted in a late summer/early fall exhibit of highly original works on a theme.

However, this summer, a talented group of young artists is working on textures and assorted elements of an upcoming major immersive exhibit called “Natura Obscura,” to open in Jan. 2019.

Museum spokesman Tim Vacca refers us to the concept of the “Meow Wolf” collective/exhibit that opened in Santa Fe a couple years ago and remains a major attraction. (Meow Wolf is projected to have a space in Denver in the fairly near future.)

One walks into a space filled with art and objects and sounds that tell a story as one proceeds, in search of this and that ... Hard to describe, but my family that ranged from a toddler to teens to assorted adults, including this ancient woman, all truly had a wonderful experience exploring it as part of a family reunion in Santa Fe. This is exciting news.

We look forward to visiting those students again soon and reporting more about what magic is transpiring.

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