A Note from our CEO

May 6, 2022

Dear Friends,

Let’s talk about the power of Partnerships
Our extensive collections and programs cover a wide span of human history and artistic expression. In order to bring you the continual flow of exhibitions, programs, and activities we do, we regularly collaborate with other cultural institutions, artists, galleries, academics, and art museums from around the world. Just a week ago we hosted a virtual discussion with our current MATRIX artist Nevine Mahmoud from her studio in Los Angeles, connecting her with former MATRIX artist Pipilotti Rist in Zurich. The week before that, in partnership with Capital Community College and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, we hosted a deeply relevant talk by Harvard professor Sarah Lewis about the power of representation in visual imagery. Earlier in April we partnered with the Tony Smith Foundation to provide a panel discussion with artists Tom Burr and Torkwase Dyson, who were both profoundly influenced by the sculpture of Tony Smith, an artist with whom the Wadsworth had a long history of collaboration. The success of these events is due in great part to the incredible partners we worked with to conceive and launch the programs. Partnerships are integral to the work we do at the Wadsworth and while many are public-facing, and the results are quite visible through exhibitions or programs, others function more behind the scenes, but are no less impactful.

Partners in art
Our relationships with fellow art museums take many forms and encompass the sharing of ideas, expertise, and works of art. Our current Milton Averyexhibition is the result of a partnership between the Wadsworth, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Exhibitions like this are so impactful and reach so many due to the power of collaboration. The exhibition features works of art from public and private collections and celebrates an artist’s evolution, a subject in which there is much joy to be felt. And in this instance, a remarkable career that began right here in Hartford and at the Wadsworth! We’re in the final weeks of its showing, and as this is the only East Coast appearance of the show, it is your last chance to experience it before it travels to London. If you haven’t seen it yet, or would like to see it again, mark your calendars to visit us this month.

Partnership with local schools
Every May we celebrate our longstanding partnership with Hartford Public Schools through an exhibition of student artwork called the Hartford Youth Art Renaissance (HYAR), now celebrating its 49th year. This month the works of art by students in grades pre-K–12 will be on view in a newly reclaimed gallery space on the second floor of the Avery Memorial. It is always an inspiring exhibition, to see the creations of the next generation of artists on view in the museum. Through this and other programs for students, we help to create connections to art that can last a lifetime.


Partnership with local Creatives

Travis Terry stands with his IEMBE bag in Gray Court

In fact, our latest series of special installations called Creative Connecticut is a celebration of the creativity in our state, featuring various makers and their creations. Greeting you just inside the Main Street entrance when you next visit is the first object in this homegrown series, Travis Dimeer Terry’s IEMBE bag. Terry, the Hartford-born designer, founded his brand IEMBE in 2019 and it has rapidly achieved incredible success. His line of handbags has been collected by some of the most fashion-conscious celebrities and are works of art in their own right. Terry still lives and works in Hartford and it was a pleasure to welcome him and his family to the Wadsworth to kick off this exciting series. We look forward to continuing to support the tremendous creativity in our state, in this way and others currently in development.


Partnership in collaborative programing with The Bushnell & Connecticut Historical Society
An exciting partnership between the Wadsworth, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and the Connecticut Historical Society is underway to celebrate the return of the award-winning musical Hamilton to Hartford this summer. While the production is in town, on stage at The Bushnell June 22–July 10, complementary exhibitions will be mounted at CHS and here at the Wadsworth, exploring the characters reimagined by Lin-Manuel Miranda and how art informed the costume and set designs brought to life on stage. Hamilton Heroes and Villains opened yesterday at the Connecticut Historical Society, kicking off the summer of revolutionary experiences. Hamilton: The Art of Remaking History will follow soon after opening night at The Bushnell, on view at the Wadsworth June 24 – September 11. It is our hope that by working together on this initiative we will provide a richer experience through opportunities to see the show, explore the history, and examine anew how our understanding of our shared history evolves over time. Keep an eye on our website for more information about the collaboration and related events—we hope you’ll join us in the months ahead.


Open doors to our colleagues
Many of us at the Wadsworth exchange ideas regularly with our colleagues at other Connecticut-based institutions. Topics range from COVID protocols to ideas for joint programming to ways in which we can better collaborate to promote tourism in the region. We have recently welcomed staff from a local art museum to share best practices in art handling and loaned display cabinets and worked with another museum to help mount special exhibitions. We are constantly thinking together about the roles each of our institutions play in the arts ecosystem in our state and have benefitted greatly from the perspectives of our partners. I’m confident there’s more to come in these growing collaborations and ongoing conversations with each other and with those in elected office supporting our collective efforts.


Welcoming a new partner to our talented team



In thinking about partnerships, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Michelle McFarland who has joined our team as Head of Visitor Experience and Services. Michelle has most recently been leading Outreach and Programs at the Hartford Public Library where she had a 25-year long career. She is the recipient of the 2021-22 Bassett Distinguished Humanitarian Award which celebrates individuals who exemplify the service and life attributes of Ambassador Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett 1833-1908, the nation’s first African American appointed as a United States diplomat. Michelle brings a passion for partnership to her work and is dedicated to public service and engagement at all levels. When you see Michelle in the galleries, please join me in welcoming her to the Wadsworth!

Best,


Jeffrey N. Brown
Chief Executive Officer