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KMAC Museum connects people to art. Read more to learn more.

KMAC executive director to attend prestigious museum leadership institute in California

_MG_6847Executive director and chief curator of KMAC Museum, Aldy Milliken, has been accepted to the Getty Leadership Institute in summer 2016

Aldy Milliken, Executive Director and Chief Curator of KMAC Museum will attend the prestigious Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University 2016 Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders this summer.

Milliken is one of 36 museum leaders from around the globe chosen to participate in this six-week intensive development program. The Community Foundation of Louisville through the Alden Fellowship will support Milliken’s tuition to the program.

“This dynamic program is the industry standard for museum leadership and will help me define specific goals that I will initiate in Louisville,” said Milliken. “My focused project at Getty will question the role of a 21st century museum. KMAC is the perfect size art institution to explore new models and ideas.”

The program aims at helping experienced art museum executives become better leaders and to strengthen their institutions’ capabilities. This intensive management program is for executives who influence policy, effect change, and are in the first two to seven years of their position.

In 2011, Milliken moved from Stockholm, Sweden where he was a gallery owner and director to become the executive director and chief curator of KMAC Museum. Now after Milliken’s nearly 5 years at the helm of KMAC, the museum has seen vast growth in programming and community engagement including a major renovation and capital campaign to increase programs and educational outreach.

In 2015, Milliken and the KMAC board formalized a new mission, “KMAC: Art is the Big Idea and Craft is the Process. The museum connects people to art and creative practice” – and successfully launched a capital campaign to support the complete renovation of KMAC’s historic 715 West Main Street location, as well as the museum’s endowment. A total of 3.3 million has been raised thus far. The renovated museum space will reopen on June 4, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10am.

“We are at a pivotal moment,” said Milliken. “The renovated museum will bring fresh opportunities to engage and involve the community along with better exhibitions spaces and education areas, and the design of our building must be able to support the newly articulated mission.”

Program participants take six weeks of intensive courses that are designed to address current trends and challenges in the museum field. The program blends two weeks online and two weeks of residency at CGU, and includes practicum sessions at Los Angeles area institutions. Academically rigorous, the program emphasizes leadership, strategy, organizational culture, and change management.

KMAC Museum Reopening June 4, 2016

KMAC Museum announces the reopening date of June 4, 2016, after an extensive 9-month 3 million dollar renovation. There will be a celebratory ribbon cutting held on June 4 to reopen the historical location of 715 West Main Street.

“We invite the community to join us in celebrating a massive accomplishment in the Louisville art scene,” said Aldy Milliken, executive director and chief curator. “This new efficient design will help further KMAC’s presence as a downtown community center that connects people to art.”

The museum, celebrating its 35th anniversary, partnered with Christoff:Finio Architecture to remodel its historic Main Street space to accommodate additional public space with café and art making areas, streamlined exhibition areas and increased capacity for education programming.

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Rendering of KMAC from Main Street, Christoff:Finio.

Last year the museum saw 40,000 visitors and an additional 60,000 participants in educational programming. With the new design, KMAC hopes to double the number of visitors in its first year after renovation, with special admissions news coming soon.

This new design will help KMAC grow with downtown development and Museum Row expansion, as well as further KMAC’s commitment as a vital community art center that provides nationally recognized art exhibitions, art programming for 30,000 school-age children as well as artist talks, musical performances and poetry slams.

During the renovation, the museum has remained active through KMAC in the Community, a series of off-site public programming including events and public art exhibitions like ARTLIK Nulu 2016 and 2015 exhibition at the Louisville Free Public Library. This summer, KMAC programming will return to the museum space, including six weeks of summer camps, exhibition-related programs and family activities.

In the fall of 2014, The Future is Being Crafted: KMAC’s Capital Campaign began to raise funds to provide ongoing support of art education programs through endowment and enhance facility space to sustain museum growth. KMAC has received pledges of 3.3 million dollars toward the campaign to date.

As a reflection of successful programming and future exhibition planning, in 2015, KMAC Museum was awarded grants nationally from The Andy Warhol Foundation and Windgate Foundation, and locally from Gheens Foundation, James Graham Brown Foundation and Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

KMAC Museum memberships will remain in effect and new memberships will continue to be available. New and continuing members will enjoy special discounts and free admission to select programs, performances and lectures.

More information about the museum’s opening schedule and exhibition will be announced in the coming month. Visit KMACmuseum.org for more information.

 

Local Designer Leads KMAC Fashion Camp

By: Ramona Lindsey, director of education

What’s the best way to spend a week out of school?   Is it sunbathing  on a white sandy beach?  What about watching hours of Neflix?  Maybe it’s hours of tormenting a brother or sister?  Well, KMAC thinks the best way to spend the week is creating wearable art with a locally recognized fashion designer. During the week of April 4th-8th, Frances Lewis, founder and lead designer of Ann De Evelyn, will work with campers (grades 4-8) at KMAC Camp Couture 2016.

KMAC Camp Couture is a weeklong opportunity to learn how to create like a KMAC Couture Designer.   KMAC Couture: Art Walks the Runway is a Louisville favorite event where local artists and designers create wearable art from the most unlikely materials.  Guests of this elaborate and unique fashion show have watched models dressed in high fashions made from dried fruit, broken dishes, birthday cards, and even garbage. Frances Lewis is a three year veteran of KMAC Couture.  Her dress made of hair extensions is featured on the KMAC Couture 2016 poster.

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Camp Couture 2016 will be the first time that a veteran KMAC Couture artist will guide campers through the process of making a wearable piece of art. Campers will work in two-person design teams to make a complete look that will be showcased during KMAC Couture 2016.  Each team will have 5 days to transform a basic mannequin and muslin into something totally outrageous  yet glamorous.  Here’s what will happen each day:

Day 1:  Create A Fashion House with Your Partner.  You will come up with a logo, signature design style, & mood boards.

Day 2:  Learn Stitching Basics by Hand and Machine.   Use your stitches to design a custom bag with hand appliquéd screenprinted motifs.

Day 3: Meet Your Model and Follow a Pattern.  You will create the perfect model using a mannequin that will wear a circle skirt or shorts that you sew.

Day 4: Make It Couture.  KMAC Couture means adding the unthinkable to your skirt and mannequin to make it completely artsy.

Day 5:  Take it Over the Top.   Use the skills you learned to create textile jewelry that will rocket your look to the extreme.

Each camper will go home at the end of the week with items they created as individuals and a team.  In addition, they will have the opportunity to share ideas, stories, and challenges with other young people who are wild about fashion.  KMAC Camp Couture 2016 is sure to be an unforgettable experience where campers enjoy the ultimate combination of fashion and art.  Online registration is open but there is space for only 18 campers.  I hope to meet you at KMAC Camp Couture 2016.

 

For more information, or to register, click here. With questions or concerns, email Assistant Director of Education Sarah McCartt-Jackson at sarah@kmacmuseum.org.

Light Up the Season with Art

By: Ramona Lindsey, KMAC director of education

In many countries, the winter months celebrate light. Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, celebrates the victory of light over darkness and hope over despair. The candlelight of the Jewish menorah reminds believers during Hanukkah of God’s ability to provide in periods of lack. The ancient Germanic and Nordic people marked the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, with the Yule festival. A Yule log was lit to mark the rebirth of the sun and the life it provided. This practice was adopted by Christians to celebrate the birth of the Jesus. In all of these celebrations, light reflects hope.

Visual art often reflects what is most important to people. At KMAC’s Winter Family Fun Day, we invite families to light up the season with art. The winter holidays are a wonderful time to laugh, create, and share. Family art making is a great way to do all three. But it is also a practical way to practice creative decision-making, problem solving, and cooperation. Designing a pattern, selecting colors, and sharing work are all necessary steps for creating a work of art your family will always remember.

This is also a season of reflection. There are many individuals who spend the holiday season without family. For them, making art is one activity that can bring joy. KMAC wants to provide the joy of art to young people at YMCA SafePlace Services. We are asking every family who attends KMAC Winter Family Fun Day to bring at least one new art supply to be donated to SafePlace. Imagine the sparkles of joy that can be created with new sketch books, drawing pencils, colored pencils, markers, paints, and brushes. We hope you will spend part of this holiday season with KMAC lighting up the season with art.

Winter Family Fun Day will be held on December 5 from 11am-4pm in the KMAC satellite space and  pop-up shop, 611 West Main Street. RSVP on Facebook here!

Thinking About Art & “The Mending Project”

The first in a series of post from the Ramona Lindsey, Director of the KMAC Education Department.

What is art? Is art an object to be seen? Or is it a functional thing created with the finest workmanship? Can it be a combination of beauty and function? Or is it the sharing of ideas? This post does not answer this age old question. Instead it raises more questions.

KMAC recently closed Food Shelter Clothing, curated by Chief Curator and Executive Director Aldy Milliken. His show included Lee Mingwei’s The Mending Project. The installation asked art patrons to bring in items of clothing to be mended or repaired by an artist mender. In 2009, The Mending Project debuted at the Lombard-Freid Projects (New York, NY). The New York installation resulted in long lines and hundreds of mended garments.

While KMAC’s reiteration did not draw hundreds of participants, we did bring in a faithful group of community mending volunteers. Many members of the Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists (LAFTA) volunteered as KMAC artist menders. During their September meeting, Kathleen Loomis, a noted textile artist, led the group in a discussion of The Mending Project experience. Kathy asked me as KMAC’s Director of Education and fellow LAFTA member to share KMAC’s perspective of the project.

Kathy described Lee Mingwei’s installation as relational aesthetics. I prefer the more relatable term participatory art. Both terms refer to the artist’s ability to create an environment where the viewers or visitors become a part of the art through an interaction or performance. Mingwei’s Mending Project created a space where two strangers shared themselves through an action (mending) and conversation (storytelling). In participatory art, the artist does not force a particular outcome but desires spontaneous, organic responses. Kathy shared with LAFTA members her disappointment in the number of garments that were mended. Actually, KMAC hoped for greater community participation. But is quantity an accurate measure of effective art?

Also during the discussion, Kathy shared entries from a communal journal kept by KMAC artist menders in which they wrote their daily thoughts after their volunteer mending shifts. Kathy started by sharing several entries, each mimicking statements similar to “No mending today!” Then she read a question left by one of the menders which read, “There may not be any mending, but what IS happening here?” Finally, Kathy quoted her response: “I think we are building a community— not with people in torn pants, but among ourselves! If you’re not mending, would you add some stitches to my swatch and make collaborative art?”

Proudly, she showed us a beautiful piece of fabric carefully embroidered using the colorful thread Lee Mingwei selected for his installation. K_Loomis_GroupArt

Her readings compelled me to wonder, “What is effective art?” Does effective art challenge people to push beyond constraints? Does it prompt new questions? Does it provoke creativity? If the answer is yes, then I believe The Mending Project is an example of effective contemporary art. It allowed a community of textile artists using traditional hand stitching processes to engage with the community. The menders’ journal and Kathy’s collaborative art are a real life display of KMAC’s slogan, “Art is the big idea, craft is the process!” You can read more about Lee Mingwei’s art at http://www.leemingwei.com/.

KMAC Announces Major Renovation, Completed 2016

The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) announces major renovation plan to be completed in Spring 2016. After 35 years of artist support, exhibitions, educational programs, and community building, the newly designed museum will increase public space and open opportunities for continued growth.

Renovation plans aim to meet ambitious 2016 goals to engage 10,000 more children in educational programs, double the average visitor duration, grow with downtown development and Museum Row expansion, and double capacity for events. The design includes extra event area, redesigned education space, expanded MakerSpace, and a café.

“With all these activities and a strong community foundation supporting us, KMAC is ready for renovation,” said KMAC Executive Director and Chief Curator Aldy Milliken. “This new flexible, efficient design will help further KMAC’s presence as a downtown community art center.”

The first level of the museum will be transformed into an open, multi-purpose area that will serve as a comfortable gathering space for visitors, while maintaining a regionally focused retail space. Renovations on the second floor will create a streamlined space for national quality exhibitions to better contextualize artists in the community. Third-floor changes include a complete overhaul of the education center to create a better learning environment, accommodate hands-on activities and various group sizes.

KMAC has partnered with Christoff : Finio Architecture, a firm based in New York to bring these plans to life. The team has extensive experience with cultural center design focusing on preservation, including projects at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the New Museum. For on site construction, KMAC will be working with Bosse Mattingly Constructors and K. Norman Berry Architects of Louisville, Kentucky.

In the fall of 2014, The Future is Being Crafted: KMAC’s Capital Campaign began to raise funds to provide ongoing support of art education programs through endowment and enhance facility space to sustain museum growth. KMAC has received pledges of 3.3 million dollars toward the campaign to date.

During renovation, the permanent collection will be safely housed in a climate controlled storage facility. The KMAC Collections Committee is meeting regularly and will continue to assess and grow the permanent collection. With new renovation capacity, the Collection will have a safer home at KMAC and more space to exhibit.

During the 4-6 month renovation time, KMAC educational and exhibition programming will continue, including external exhibitions, pop-up shops and events. The museum will begin renovation in September following the closing of the exhibition Food Shelter Clothing.

“This renovation time offers the opportunity for KMAC to engage in community projects and continue to build relationships,” Aldy Milliken said. “Art education, conversations and outreach efforts will continue across the city.”

Next month, KMAC’s photo biennial exhibition will be displayed at the Louisville Public Library Southwest Branch on Dixie Highway. Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books project will be on view from September 19 – November 8. A public reception with the artist will be held at the library on October 1, 2015.

The KMAC education team will be collaborating with Louisville’s Commission on Public Art to create programming and guides for an arts exhibition to be displayed along the waterfront. KMAC educators will be regularly participating as artists-in-residence at regional schools, and the museum’s popular Mobile Museums will still be available for rental.

The new KMAC will open in Spring 2016 with the exhibition “The Material Issue.” This exhibition will create a dialogue with certain materials that are steeped in traditional craft. Refer to the KMAC website at http://www.kmacmuseum.org and follow on social media @KMACmuseum for updates and event schedules.

 

  • Louisville Mini Maker Faire: September 19, 2015
  • Programs with the Commission on Public Art: August 28-November 2015
  • Photo Biennial Public Reception: October 1, 2015
  • Bourbon Bash: October 3, 2015

 

 

Hite/KMAC Summer Fellow Explores the Permanent Collection

By Hunter Kissel, Hite/KMAC Curatorial Fellow for Summer 2015

Hunter has completed his first year in graduate school pursing a dual Master in Public Administration/Master of Arts in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville; he is a native Louisvillian.

I received my undergraduate degree from Transylvania University in Studio Art last May and now am pursuing a Master degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville. The shift from amateur art-maker to aspiring exhibition producer has provided its share of challenges, namely in the language and art historical methods I now use. My personal appetite for participation in the broader arts community, however, has remained the same. The school year ended in the early weeks of May, and I began researching summer opportunities. I was soon offered a fellowship at KMAC.

Denzil Goodpaster. Selected works.
Denzil Goodpaster. Selected works.

As part of the Fellowship, I was given the chance to use KMAC’s permanent collection to display a selection of works in their Brown Forman Gallery. Director Aldy Milliken and Associate Curator Joey Yates often use the summer months to present works from the collection in a gallery setting, and this was sure to be a great chance to practice some of the curatorial methods I had been learning in school. KMAC begins planning their exhibitions as far as two years out in some cases, so completing the show in little over one month seemed like a tall order.

KMAC’s permanent collection contains works by acclaimed regional and national folk artists. Artists from Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia are heavily represented in the collection, and as a result themes of economic agriculture, religion, American identity, and wildlife are all very present. After browsing the catalogue of KMAC’s permanent collection and inspecting some of these artworks in person, I was able to narrow down my selection for the exhibition to about twenty pieces. I selected many of these Appalachian artists as well as some contemporary local artists working in glass, photography, or patchwork.

The selection process was not an easy one. While many of these artworks deserve to be shown, a number of constraints surfaced and I was unable to include objects I really admire. My conversations with Joey Yates were emphasized with the notion that “less is more.” The idea of a cluttered gallery made us uneasy, and subsequently space had to be compromised in order to include a diversity of artists as well as multiple works by the same artist when their breadth required it. Each object needed “room to breathe” (as the popular saying goes), and my selections were heavily influenced by the gallery space itself.

Marvin Finn, Crane 1980
Marvin Finn, Crane 1980

The final title of the exhibition was simple—Highlights from the Permanent Collection. There was no need to contextualize these works. The collection speaks for itself. The final display includes artists like Earnest Patton, one of the most renowned artists in KMAC’s collection, who carves human figures with precision and clean technique. His depiction of Adam and Eve is as topical as that of his mermaid or woman in a swimsuit. Minnie Adkins’ use of a fox motif translates fluidly from woodcarving to quilt, demonstrating the artist’s ability to execute in a variety of mediums. Carl McKenzie’s figures stand as anomalies, distanced from the comparable work produced by Patton, Denzil Goodpaster, and Junior Lewis. His splotched Lady Liberty and Red Cross Nurse are vibrant takes on popular subjects. Finally, Marvin Finn and his flock of familiar birds are at hand within KMAC’s collection.

The resulting exhibition advocates for the importance of collecting. Under Milliken and Yates, KMAC is transforming from an artist-represented gallery into an archival museum. KMAC’s current collection is a solid foundation for a more expansive holding of artworks. Highlights marks a checkpoint for an evolving institution.

Highlights from the Permanent Collection, curated by Hunter Kissel, will be on display in the Brown Forman Gallery at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft until mid-September. To see more from the exhibition, visit http://www.kmacmuseum.org.