Welcome to WAM Updates

WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

We hope you like reading the Updates! If you are interested in learning about something specific, or have a suggestion for a WAM Update, please update us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org

Monday, October 24, 2016

New - Ed Emberley Curriculum Guides

This past summer, teachers from Worcester’s Jacob Hiatt Magnet School partnered with WAM to create curriculum tied to the Kahbahbloom exhibition. These curricula, which are specific to various grade standards in Kindergarten through 2nd grade, are available on the Museum’s website:

· Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings 
· The Story of Paul Bunyan
· Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book

Jacob Hiatt Magnet School students, staff, and families are excited to have the opportunity to engage with the work of Ed Emberley who is still alive and is a resident of Massachusetts, in intimate ways. They have been examining the prolific body of Emberley’s work in art classes, and this has allowed them to bring to life their own ideas by creating and illustrating. Ed Emberley is an artist who sees the world through the eyes of a child. He is the perfect artist for elementary art students who often see the world through lines, shapes, and forms. Through Emberley, they are able to make connections and synthesize basic elements of Art into their own reality. The trip to WAM will be the highlight for students. To see Emberley’s work up close after seeing it in their studies will be a rewarding experience.

Learn more about KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley

- Jyoti Datta, Principal, Jacob Hiatt Magnet School

Monday, October 17, 2016

Helmutt on the Move!

Have you met Helmutt? Helmutt is an armor-wearing boar hound statue; his armor is based on the plate dog armor of a hunting hound of Emperor Charles V. Leonard Heinrich, who was the armorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made Helmutt’s armor as a gift to John Woodman Higgins in 1942. In his 74 years, Helmutt was a crowd favorite at the Higgins Armory Museum, greeting visitors and even other dogs. Helmutt has also been featured in the news many times over the years. Below are some of our favorite press clippings.

Now that Helmutt’s new home is here at WAM, he’ll continue the tradition of greeting Museum visitors of all types. He will be popping up all over the Museum visiting different works of art, especially those with other animals. See if you can find Helmutt each time you visit WAM!

Look for clues on our Facebook page

- Megan J. Blomgren Burgess, Public Events Coordinator

Friday, October 14, 2016

Winter Cover Contest Winner: Linda Spencer

Linda Spencer’s luminescent oil painting, Winter Train over Seven-Mile River, East Brookfield, appears on the cover of WAM’s Studio Art 2016/17 winter catalog. Her winning entry was selected from a number of submissions, all by current and former Studio Art students.

Spencer’s painting — a mesmerizing display of muted light and soft colors that aptly captures early New England winter — began with a brisk walk behind the Massasoit Art Guild studios in East Brookfield. The light was exceptional so she took a number of photographs and then headed to the studio to paint.

“People asked me, ‘Where is that stunning location?’ and I told them it was just out back. You don’t have to travel far to find beauty.”

Why would, Spencer, an artist and art teacher, decide to take classes at WAM’s Studio Art program? The answer is not complicated, she says. “If you work and you’re busy, you won’t paint if you don’t take a class.”

Spencer, who coincidentally lives in Spencer, taught art at the Quabbin Regional High School in Barre for 35 years. During those demanding years, she took Studio Art classes to bring fresh ideas to her classroom. At the same time, she developed her own preferences and style as an artist. And it was at WAM that she came into her own as an artist.

“I took my first plein-air painting class with Susan Swinand at WAM. I love plein-air. Now that I’m retired, I paint much more.”

Painting is restorative, engaging, challenging and, yes, even therapeutic.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors,” she says. “It’s the fresh air, the sense of being there. The wonder of looking at everything. To quickly capture what you see is quite a challenge. You have to focus so much on what you’re doing. For the time that you’re working, it’s almost like a vacation, though I’m always exhausted afterward. It’s a lot of work — taking what you see and limiting it to a small canvas.”

In art, Spencer says, “there’s no right or wrong. Art is a safe place to be. My students gained tremendous confidence that carried over into other parts of their lives. You take risks, see some successes there, and then you’re willing to take more risks, try harder, try something else.”

“Be fearless,” she says. “Don’t worry. You can always try again.”

View all of the winter cover contest entries on WAM’s Facebook page

Browse Worcester Art Museum Studio Classes

- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Friday, October 7, 2016

Now on View: WAM Studio Class Program and Worcester Youth Center Exhibition

The Higgins Education Wing will exhibit artwork created by teen artists as a part of a multi-year collaboration between Worcester Art Museum’s Studio Class Programs and the Worcester Youth Center. This exhibition features a variety of artwork created over two years of programming by twenty-five artists; including painting, sculpture, illustration, mixed media, and photography. Led by WAM Faculty Members Jennifer Swan and Jamie Buckmaster, teens tackled tough issues through their artwork such as racism and oppression. Their artwork will be on view from October 1 – October 24.

Our studio art philosophy places value on the process of creating art and learning to think and respond creatively. We provide an environment where students can explore other cultures through our outstanding collection of artworks from antiquities to contemporary art. Students will have the opportunity to try new materials and gain self-confidence. All artists, not just those with perceived talents, benefit from working with art materials and learning about self-expression.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Higgins Education Wing is open Sunday–Saturday, 9am–5pm. Register for a Studio Art Class with Worcester Art Museum to be eligible for our next student exhibitions! WAM’s Fall session for teens starts soon! Weekend classes being October 1st and afterschool studio classes start October 6th.

Click here for more information about upcoming classes and workshops.

- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Monday, October 3, 2016

Third Spaces and Seating at WAM

Inspired by the Museum’s 2020 vision statement, WAM has long believed in the idea that the Museum can function as a space where the community comes together. The idea of creating public spaces—or third spaces-where people can congregate is at the center of the Museum’s identity. The idea of third space was first developed and introduced in 1989 by Ray Oldenberg is his book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. For WAM, third spaces will always be our galleries, places that connect you with our art, spanning seven thousand years of human history, creativity, and imagination. Join us in these spaces to celebrate, talk, dream, draw, read, and write with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and even other guests you meet here.

As part of this initiative, we also continue our experimentation with seating. We began this journey with Constellation, a furniture installation by Kraud Inc., now in the Remastered Galleries; bean bags in Helmutt’s House; Thonet chairs throughout the facility; a prayer bench; and now couches, club chairs, and coffee tables in several of our European galleries. We invite you sit, linger, lounge, relax, kick back, and REST. Galleries were made for sitting, and I hope that this new furniture encourages long hours spent enjoying the artworks and community at the Museum.

- Adam Reed Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Philip A. Klausmeyer, April 11, 1963 – August 25, 2016

It is with great sadness that we report on the untimely death of Worcester Art Museum Conservator and Scientist Dr. Philip A. Klausmeyer. Philip was a cherished family member, esteemed colleague, and friend. He passed away on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at the age of 53, surrounded by his loving family, after a 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Philip worked at the Worcester Art Museum as both a paintings conservator and scientist while also serving as Associate Editor for Studies in Conservation, the international peer-reviewed journal for the conservation of historic and artistic works. Philip also held a research appointment at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) where he brought museum conservators together with university scientists and students to explore the application of innovative technologies to conservation research. At WPI, Philip was exposed to cutting edge technologies, and it was here that he discovered the potential for laser shearography to assess the impact of environmental conditions on artworks.

In 1998, Philip received an M.S. in painting conservation from the Winterthur/ University of Delaware Program in Conservation. He completed two summer internships at the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and fulfilled his third year internship requirement at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM). Over the next five years, he honed his conservation skills while holding several advanced fellowships at WAM, including two Samuel H. Kress awards. During this period, he also worked part time for two years as an assistant conservator at the Harvard University Art Museums, where he made significant contributions to the conservation treatment of John Singer Sargent’s Triumph of Religion murals at the Boston Public Library.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Passion for Wood

Recently Paula Artal-Isbrand, WAM’s Objects Conservator, and I welcomed to the museum two leading wood researchers, Dr. Itoh Takao (Kyoto) and Dr. Mechtild Mertz (Paris). They are conducting a comprehensive research project to identify the type of woods used for as many Chinese religious wooden sculptures as they can test. They have already tested some sculptures in Chinese and European collections as well as the ones at the Met in New York. This time on their trip to the U.S. they came to test the ones at the MFA, Harvard, Isabella Stewart Gardner, RISD, Cleveland, Princeton, Yale, and Brooklyn as well as ours at Worcester. A very intense and focused research project! We look forward to learning more about our Chinese wooden sculptures from Dr. Itoh and Dr. Mertz and were honored that WAM was able to contribute to their important study.

See more Chinese Art in our Collection Highlights

-Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art

Image 1: Dr. Itoh and Abby Hykin, Objects Conservator at the MFA accompanying him, studying our Head of Guanyin, Yuan Dynasty, 1260–1368, wood, polychrome and gold leaf, Museum Purchase, 1932.15

Image 2: Paula (left) observing Dr. Itoh and Dr. Mertz working on our Standing Bodhisattva, Chinese, Song Dynasty, 1100–1200, carved wood, polychromed, Museum Purchase, 1954.165

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