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Behind Closed Doors: There's No Place Like Home

Today’s post comes from James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Art Center.
A couple of days ago, after almost eight months of almost compulsive thinking about construction matters in conjunction with our roof replacement project, I took a group of journalists through the almost fully re-installed permanent collection here at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center in preparation for our re-opening.  I talked about art.  I talked about beauty.  I talked about history.  I talked about familiar personalities.  After having had my vocabulary challenged and expanded with words such as torch down, pull testing, reglet, drip edge, coping stone, siplast, ball spring, CERTA, counter flashing, and openness factor, I was back to a much more comfortable nomenclature and enjoying it!  I was having the same resurgent appreciation of the obvious that someone must have when a full-leg cast is removed and suddenly one can scratch again or feel the cool breeze on one’s skin.  And, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I was repeating mentally “There’s no place like home.”  While we all like challenges and being tested in new ways, my training was always focused on the creations of visual artists and it’s the re-entry into that world that provided me with a lot of happiness.  Okay, it was that and possibly the ego gratification that derived from the fact that here was a group that seemed interested in what I had to say as a knowledgeable art expert.  I can assure you that that did not happen whenever I opined to anyone about roof matters.
Also, since everything in the galleries is in a new location on the wall or floor and not yet labeled, taking visitors through on this first pass was a challenging exercise in sight-reading.  There were new relationships to be discovered among works of art.  There were new works of art.  There were the mental lapses that occur when you haven’t thought about something for most of a year.  What was that artist’s first name?….. It’s close…..almost…..Alexander!.  The experience was at the same time both comfortable yet unfamiliar which is preferable, I suppose, to familiar yet uncomfortable.
When our visitors begin to return this Thursday we will begin to reap the satisfaction that derives from a pride in sharing what we do with a broader public.  While it’s still only the middle of January, reopening the Art Center will be to me a sure sign of spring.

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