November was a magical month full of saving the arts and loving the arts.
To keep art history alive in this era of budget cuts, I wrote a children’s art history book entitled Once Upon a Masterpiece: An Art History Adventure in 2011. With a $1,000 grant, I have donated copies of Once Upon a Masterpiece to the School District of Philadelphia, which is suffering from severe cutbacks, and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), which may be forced to sell off artwork in the midst of Detroit’s battle with bankruptcy.
On November 12, 2013, I was honored that my efforts were the subject of a column in The Detroit News. But the excitement did not stop there – when a DIA board member read the column, he invited me to visit the DIA and paid for my airfare! On November 21, 2013, my trip to Detroit was a once-in-a-lifetime experience: I received a personal tour of the DIA’s gorgeous collection, I met with museum officials, and I was even driven around town in a limo. The DIA invited the press when I came to visit, and I had a blast getting to talk about my project. Check out the television segment that aired on Detroit NBC’s news and an article from The Macomb Daily!
The trip was nothing short of a whirlwind, as I woke up in Philadelphia at dawn and returned to Philadelphia at dusk. Going to the DIA was truly one of the highlights of my life, as my alarm from that morning may suggest!
Boo! For a holiday that is all about terror, what painting is more appropriate than Edvard Munch’s The Scream? This Halloween, I dressed up as the legendary work of art – not as the ghoulish figure in the painting but as the painting itself!
With my new The Scream shirt on my body, a howl on my face, and a frame around my neck, I know that my art history costume did the trick (and the treat) on October 31. If you want to see more art history Halloween costumes, check out these incredible Buzzfeed photos!
For those of you keeping a Night Watch on the Internet, I have a late-night post for you!
On what would have been Rembrandt van Rijn’s 407th birthday, Google honored the Dutch artist with one of its signature Google doodles. As both an art history lover and a Google doodle enthusiast, this tribute to Rembrandt was a welcome sight on my screen!
If you’re still in the mood for celebrating Rembrandt, check out this incredible YouTube video that shows a flash mob re-creating Night Watch at a mall in the Netherlands!
Before heading to Grounds for Sculpture (see the post below), I started off the day not by observing the history of art but by taking in the present of art. I enjoyed exploring Trenton’s Art All Night, an amazing once-a-year event that showcases art by the people and for the people.
Staged in the old Roebling Wire Works factory building, the 24-hour program offers free admission to the public and invites artists of all ages to submit their artwork for free. The inventive setting, the feel-good atmosphere of food stands and live music, and the variety and beauty of the art made for a delightful event that demonstrated that true artists are all around us.
Here are some pictures from my trip to Art All Night. The first one is with my dad – it was Father’s Day, after all! The second one is a re-creation of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph V-J Day in Times Square. While most of the hundreds of impressive pieces were not based on art history, I was excited to find this re-creation, too!
Father’s Day became Daughter’s Day when I wanted to visit a local gem for an art history enthusiast: Grounds for Sculpture. On a beautiful, sprawling property in Hamilton, New Jersey, this verdant park showcases both modern sculptures by contemporary artists and, to my delight, sculptured re-creations of famous works of art history.
Making it my mission to find all of the sculptures that depict legendary masterpieces, I spent a charming day with my parents and some very familiar faces – a girl with a pearl earring, a boating party having lunch, and a disturbed man on a bridge, to name a few.
(If you are planning your own visit to this incredible stop, please note that it is no walk in the park – pun intended – to find these re-creations. Grounds for Sculpture does not label them with their original names or offer a map that organizes them.)
Grounds for Sculpture made art history come alive! Below are photographs that show me interacting with Seward Johnson’s sculptures. Listed below the photographs are the original paintings and their artists.