Treasures from the Vault: Ginny Ruffner

A common misconception about working in museums is that you get to touch the stuff, whether artworks or artifacts. When I lead a tour a common question is: “What is the coolest piece of art you’ve gotten to handle?” As an educator, I have to explain, I’m not allowed to touch the stuff either! While my job requires handling of reproductions, I rarely get to to into the vault and see, or write about, the various treasures we have. Read on to see which treasure from the vault caught the eye of our writer!

Curating 1026 West Berry Street

It's installation week at FWMoA! If you visit us before Saturday you'll have to pardon our mess as this week we are installing the exhibit we’re calling 1026 West Berry Street – The Fort Wayne Art School. Read on to see what Suzanne Slick learned while curating this exhibition and how the community came together to contribute!

Art Term Tuesday: Art Appraisal

Imagine – You were crawling through Grandma’s attic this weekend, trying to chase out the squirrels, when you came across a large square object covered by a sheet. Grandma doesn’t recall where the painting came from but asks you to find out more about it. It’s signed in the corner and when you put that name into a search engine it comes up with a famous artist! Their paintings are rare, valuable, and you might have one right there in front of you! What do you do next?

Off the Cuff: Folk Artist Howard Finster

Throughout my career I’ve been blessed with friendships with some of the most interesting people in the art world.  One of the most fascinating was the self-taught folk artist Howard Finster. I was a myopic art historian in training when I first saw Howard’s work in an art magazine in the library of the Clark Art Institute.  I had no experience with “outsider art” and thought the idea that someone self-taught could actually make art was ridiculous.  Several years later, however, while spending a long weekend in Chicago browsing through the galleries of River North, I called on art dealer Carl Hammer and discovered that his entire gallery was devoted primarily to these “outsiders.” My education about folk- or outsider- art began that afternoon as Carl walked me through his back room pulling painting after painting from the racks and telling me stories about each of his artists, including Howard Finster.

Docent Dialogue: Learning to Look with Jennifer

Learning doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom, whether it’s for a field trip at the art museum or long after graduation day, and the education department at FWMoA is no exception! Read on to find out how one of our docents learns more about art every day.

Treasures from the Vault: Tea and Coffee Set

The temperature is dropping and the leaves are finally changing; it’s a favorite time of year for many! The hot and muggy days of summer are gone, and it’s finally sweater weather, which all of my coworkers know I’m very excited about. But, more importantly, it’s hot tea and coffee weather, too! I know, I know, you can enjoy delicious, hot drinks throughout the year, but, let’s be honest, they’re best when it’s crisp and cool outside. In honor of this season of change, our treasure from the vault this week is an exquisite tea and coffee set.

Treasures from the Vault: Hollis Sigler

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I decided to select a work by Hollis Sigler in loving memory of her and in honor of the multitude of breast cancer survivors and those who are no longer with us. This disease has become far too familiar for many of us, whether it has been faced firsthand or experienced through the care of family members or friends. Read on to see how Sigler confronted her illness in her artwork and helped further the conversation around breast cancer research.

Reality Check: Where’s Our Degas?

In my role at FWMoA, I’m lucky enough to be inextricably linked to all our social media accounts, so every little thing people say about us is conveniently delivered to my inbox. Most reviews are positive, accurate, and heartwarming. Some stretch the truth, and others inspire my blog posts. A common set of complaints seem to bubble to the surface of our negative reviews: “It’s not as big as I thought it would be;” “There’s not enough to see;” “There were no famous artists like Degas or Renoir;” “It’s not like Chicago or Los Angeles.” Read on to see how our museum compares to others and what makes our collection unique.