*Within the disability community today, some may prefer identity-first language (e.g., “disabled person”), or person-first language (e.g., “person with a disability”). Because the curators do not know the preferences of the historical subjects in the “Functional Fashions” display, they chose to use identity-first language based on the recommendations of collaborators.
The mistaken belief that there is no history of clothing designs for disabled users has had a number of repercussions. Among them: nearly all designers treat their own iterations as inaugural, there has been a dearth of innovation as designs are continuously repeated, and disability-led innovation is written out of the historical record . Not only is there a long history of clothing designed by and for disabled persons, but in some cases it sets a higher standard than the efforts that followed. “Functional Fashions,” a display in the 20th- and 21st-Century Design Galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum, introduces the largest collaborative clothing line for disabled persons in American history.
Installation view, “Functional Fashions,” Milwaukee Art Musuem, 2019.
If you visit the Museum between October 21 and November 10, you’ll notice the rise of the Burke Brise Soleil (“wings”) is a bit more rocking. The daily architectural feat, rising at 10 a.m., noon, and right before the Museum closes, will be temporarily accompanied by the song “Elevation” by U2.
We’re not just in a “rock music” kind of mood now that the wings are spruced up. In early June, the Museum kicked off its annual giving campaign—with a new, exciting twist. For every gift of $50 or more, donors received one entry into our “Program the Wings” drawing, and one lucky winner was selected to pick the music that would accompany the opening and closing of the “wings” for a short period of time.
So, who won? Drumroll, please….
Long-time Museum Member Ann Rozanski!
This local engineer has created many fond memories at the Museum since she joined in 2008—seeing the newest exhibitions, lingering in front of her favorite Collection work (Jules Bastien-Lepage’s The Wood Gatherer), and spending time with her mom at Art in Bloom. The “wings” have also long been a source of inspiration; Rozanski says they “let us all imagine being able to fly over Lake Michigan.” She chose “Elevation” to accompany their opening and closing because the U2 song is uplifting, and the lyrics reflect the upward movement: “In the sky…You make me feel like I can fly…So high.”
While this was a creative fundraising initiative, it’s also a reminder of the impact our donors have on the Museum. Without their continued generosity, we would not be able to put forth outstanding exhibitions, offer premier educational programs, and maintain our Collection of over 30,000 works of art—not to mention the 217-foot architectural wingspan.
Thanks to all who continue to support our institution, whether it was through donations or through one of the countless other ways you can share of your time and resources.
At the Museum, the impact of arts education can often be seen and heard—from the awe-inspired gazes upon entering the Calatrava-designed building, to the questions, discussions, and laughter that frequently fill the galleries.
In 2010, National Arts in Education Week was officially recognized by Congress and, since then, schools and institutions across the country have continued to celebrate annually, the second week in September. Championed by the non-profit organization, Americans for the Arts, this celebration is designed to encourage educational decision makers and elected officials to support what art museums have known for a long time: The arts are essential for a well-rounded education and for creating access and inclusivity to that end. Art museums commonly support this initiative with school programs and education departments that know all about the powerful impact of the arts in transforming learning experiences for visitors of all ages.
The MAM education department takes pride in celebrating and supporting arts in education year-round by offering something for everyone—from animal-themed student tours to professional development for teachers. Over 150 docent educators are dedicated to delivering high quality arts experiences on guided tours to over 50,000 school children each year. Each of the guided tours is designed to align with state and national standards for art education and commonly overlap with writing, social studies, and history curriculum standards as well. A growing number of teacher workshops are hosted to help educators incorporate art into their curriculum (and often include a themed guided tour!).
So how do docent-guided tours support the arts in education? Each tour, based on a pre-selected theme, provides engaging learning activities in the galleries. Students and docents exchange intergenerational knowledge and perspectives while interpreting works of art in a variety of ways. At a 12:1 student to docent ratio, students are encouraged to develop personal connections with art and share ideas within a small group. Name tags allow docents to praise, question, and call on students by name, as curiosity is piqued amidst intriguing works of art. Students get to slow down and dig deeper into the stories behind works of art through thought-provoking questions and participation in discussions.
Many studies, such as the recently published NAEA-AAMD Study: Impact of Art Museum Programs on K-12 Students, have proven that cultural enrichment opportunities can reach beyond classroom walls and into the community. Studies like these have also proven that art museum field trips promote critical and creative thinking skills, offer real-world learning, enhance observation skills, and help students empathize with life experiences from multiple perspectives and from different times and places.
Help us celebrate arts in education all year long by visiting with your teacher and school groups, or stop in for a weekend drop-in tour with a docent educator. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of curators, conservators, patrons, and, of course, artists that walk through our doors each year, benefiting from museum field trips in ways we have yet to see. And in the wise words of a thank you note from a visiting nine-year-old student, “The art museum is the best! They have so many paintings from so many different artists. If we didn’t have the art museum, I don’t know where I could get my insperashion. I know that the art museum is very important, so having the opportunity to take a tour to learn more is even better!”
If you’ve owned dogs, you likely have a few stories to tell—maybe your pup has run through the house with muddy paws, learned an impressive trick, cuddled with you when you were sick, or kept you company when you were home alone. Dog-human relationships can be very special, even life-changing, which is why these furry friends continue to be featured in books, movies—and art. From fierce hunting partners to lazy-day companions, the Museum’s Collection shows a wide range of “good boys” (and girls).
They say dogs are “man’s best friend;” well, here are some of MAM’s best friends.
Celebrated Wisconsin artist and beloved University of Wisconsin–Madison professor Truman Lowe passed away on March, 30, 2019, leaving behind a powerful legacy.
Raised in a Ho-Chunk community near Black River Falls, Lowe always felt a connection to nature; he was especially captivated by water and its natural qualities. Lowe’s relationship with art began at a young age, learning traditional crafts from his family, but he later broadened his creative scope to include sculpture, glassblowing, and ceramics. Though his work and skills developed throughout his career, Lowe continually drew inspiration from the natural world around him.
The artist became known for his beautifully understated sculptural pieces, often made with wood he gathered himself. The Museum acquired one such piece by the artist in the late 1990s, and in his remembrance, the work is now on display in the Contemporary Art Galleries. Lowe’s large-scale Inni-che-ru-he (Stone Wall) installation (1995), made of chalk on paper and willow branches, is part of his larger Canyon Series.
Though Lowe continues to be greatly missed, his kind spirit, love of nature, and pride for his personal heritage live on through his work, which will surely inspire for years to come.
Lowe’s work has been exhibited in the Kohler Art Center, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, in Oregon, and in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at the White House, and he has received numerous awards, including the 2007 Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky once noted, “color is a power which directly influences the soul,” and science tells us it’s true—color can affect your mood, opinions, and even your behavior. Our Collection Galleries, filled with vibrant hues, soft tones, and complementary color pairings, are sure to brighten your mood, no matter how you’re feeling. Visit the Museum today to see all of these colorful artworks and so much more!
Pablo Picasso’s The Cock of the Liberation
Josef Albers’s Study for Homage to the Square: Lighted from Within