My husband Steve and I enrolled our granddaughters in the first week of the Michener’s Summer Art Camp and they had a glorious time learning about and making art. All aspects of the museum inside and outside were used to teach the children how to look, imagine, and create. With camp in the afternoon, we had our mornings free to explore the area. We made a daily journey to the local shops for supplies and games and then we visited the Mercer Museum, Fonthill and the Moravian Tileworks (each girl selected a personal tile), along with Kids Castle, walks down State Street shopping, and daily luncheons at various cafes and restaurants. We enjoyed discovering the treasures of the Doylestown area and never ventured more than a few miles away from home.
I see the Michener Art Museum as an anchor in our community where the wonders of the art world are brought to your doorstep. We encourage our visitors to take advantage of a walkable town filled with distinctive shops, wonderful eateries, accommodations, and other cultural attractions. The Museum is an economic driver of this region and we see, and hear about, this impact on a regular basis. While our community presence was significantly heightened during our exhibition on Grace Kelly, it is important for the Michener to sustain the web of mutual support with our business neighbors.
We continue to mount a diverse array of exhibitions that highlight both historical and contemporary art expressions, and the current exhibition of sculpture by Steve Tobin brings a fresh eye to the arc of his career. The installation has also energized our Pine Street entrance and the interior prison walls. I am eager to introduce our new Senior Curator for Exhibitions, Kirsten Jensen, who brings an energetic and knowledgeable foundation to our team. She is already at work on several exhibitions that are innovative and both draw from our beloved Pennsylvania Impressionist landscape traditions and shed new light on American Art genres.
I welcome you to an outstanding Fall season and look forward to seeing you in our galleries and participating in our programs.
As we say goodbye to Grace Kelly, the Michener Art Museum staff and volunteers reflect upon the three months she “graced” our galleries. In spite of the weather (the museum was only closed three days during the entire 90 day run), our visitors turned out in droves, each with a story to tell about their memories, interactions, or experiences with this home-town girl. It was an extraordinary opportunity for the museum to present a focused and complete story of someone important to our region and whose history resonated with so many. This was reflected by the 1,000+ visitors we had every day.
We welcomed many special guests, beginning with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, HSH Princess Charlene and many Kelly family members who still reside in Philadelphia and the tri-state area. They were instrumental in our efforts to bring this exhibition to Doylestown and we are grateful for their enthusiasm and support. Carson Kressley was caught in the galleries one Saturday afternoon and Grace’s Hollywood roommate and bridesmaid Rita Gam caused a celebrity crush during her visit.
I appreciate the efforts of the Michener staff on all levels and the tremendous number of volunteers who cheerfully gave their time. Our audiences left happy and satisfied with their experience visiting From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly, Beyond the Icon and our wonderful museum.
We are preparing for our next big installation, curated by our own Connie Kimmerle, which will focus on the extraordinary creations of master studio-craftsman Paul Evans, on view March 1 – June 1, 2014. Evans, who used metals and interesting patinas and surfaces to shape furniture and wall sculptures, made Bucks County his haven of creativity. Generously funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and Rago Art and Auction Center in Lambertville, this exhibition is on the forefront of both scholarship and the Michener’s focus on collecting craft and design in a serious way.
You will not want to miss the trio of artists featured in the Pfundt Gallery. This exhibition is focused on the theme of art, science and medicine. The powerful, large-scale photographs of New York based artist, Howard Schatz, are complemented by the sublime canvases wrought by Richard Goldberg and the intricate and forceful images in stained glass by J. Kenneth Leap. A symposium on Saturday, April 5 will bring together artists and medical professionals to examine the tremendous artistic capabilities and expressions that can result from trauma and brain injury.
We then look forward to the intricate, expressive and glorious drawings by Barbara Schaff, and a traveling exhibition that has reached across cultural and economic strata to touch many people. Where Children Sleep is a poignant look at environments and at carefully constructed portraits of the inhabitants as captured by the lens of James Mollison.
Don’t miss the final weeks of “Local Mill Makes Good: 75 Years of the Bucks County Playhouse,” on view in the Beans Gallery through March 2, 2014. Join me in keeping the energy of the Michener alive and growing!
Just as Princess Grace was swept off her feet by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, a crowd of supporters was swept away by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. The son of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier came to the Michener October 26 as guest of honor at our red-carpeted pre-opening gala for From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY—Beyond the Icon.
Opening the Grace Kelly exhibit with the participation and heartfelt expressions of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene truly makes this event legendary. A member of the Kelly family told me that our reception was one of the most glamorous yet personal events she had ever attended and it rivaled international counterparts. We have certainly achieved a global presence with this exhibition, and it has not gone unnoticed by the media, beginning with a segment on The Today Show. In fact we’ve received more media attention for Grace Kelly than anything the museum has done in the past. See more here.
The gala was attended by Pennsylvania’s First Lady Susan Corbett, members of the Michener Board of Trustees, major donors and Friends of Grace. Special guest performer Leslie Odom Jr. sang an array of standard classics and a single from his upcoming debut album. Odom was a 2002 Princess Grace Foundation-USA Award winner for Theater Scholarship, and most recently played Sam on the NBC musical drama series Smash. The Princess Grace Awards continues her legacy by recognizing outstanding emerging artists in the performing arts: theater, dance, film, playwriting and choreography. (For more information about the Princess Grace Awards, please visit www.pgfusa.org.)
Hundreds and hundreds of visitors are queuing up at our doors daily to get a glimpse of Grace Kelly’s couture, film clips, memorabilia and, most importantly, a sense of her style. We broke all previous attendance levels here at the Michener in the opening weeks. Advance tickets are still available on our website.
And while you’re here, please visit our fascinating companion exhibit, Local Mill Makes Good: Celebrating 75 years of American Theater at the Bucks County Playhouse. See where Grace Kelly got her start. During its heyday in the 1940s through the 1960s the Playhouse presented a who’s who of American show business: Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Helen Hayes, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury and Tyne Daly, as well as such renowned playwrights as George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Neil Simon, and Terrance McNally.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with the prince, but I also enjoy seeing each and everyone of you here at the Michener! Wishing you all a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.
It has been a very exciting fall season at the Michener Art Museum as we conclude several stellar exhibitions and prepare for Grace Kelly. We just concluded our 2013 Art of Wine event. This distinctive biennial gathering has become a signature fundraiser for the Michener, blending an unforgettable evening of wining and dining pleasure with the goal of raising critical support for the museum’s exhibitions and education programs.
The evening began in the galleries, with hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting from premier vineyards, during which guests participated in a silent auction of over 40 lots of wine, art and wine-related items. This was followed by a four-course gourmet dinner in the Putman Event Pavilion, with specially chosen wine pairings accompanying each course. The evening culminated in a live auction featuring art and exclusive wine lots, as well as unique experience and destination packages. An extravagant affair it was! We are grateful to all the committee members, sponsors, vineyards, donors and supporters who not only made Art of Wine a success, but enable all else that we do at the Michener – including our much anticipated exhibition, From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY—Beyond the Icon, opening October 28.
There couldn’t be a more exciting time here as all the preparations are being made for the installation of this exhibit, for which the Michener is the only U.S. venue. Every day the museum is buzzing with staff from Monaco and Montreal, guiding the installation process. The galleries are filling up with glass cases to house the magnificent dresses displayed on custom mannequins . As I see her shoes, her hats, her gowns, her photographs, I feel Grace’s presence very much alive here in Doylestown.
She’d also be delighted with the companion exhibit, Local Mill Makes Good: Celebrating 75 years of American Theater at the Bucks County Playhouse.
On view October 28, 2013, through March 2, 2014, Local Mill Makes Good tells the story of this historic New Hope landmark, tracing the Playhouse’s impact on American theater as well as the regional economy and cultural life. Curator David Leopold brings together a collection of diverse material, including rare photographs and footage, and artwork by Charles Child, Ben Solowey, Al Hirschfeld, Robert Beck and others. This exhibition celebrates the players, productions and producers who made the Playhouse a legend, from its birth in 1939 to its recent rebirth as the leading professional theater in the area.
We are thrilled to announce a $9,000 gift from the Bucks County Foundation for Local Mill Makes Good. The Bucks County Foundation is a charitable trust created to serve Bucks County and the people who live in Bucks. Since its founding in 1979, the Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships for Bucks County students and has given grants to help children in need, homeless animals, the arts, education, museums, the environment and the Bucks County Free Library, among others.
The Bucks County Foundation is invested in our educational framework and our ability to tell compelling stories about Bucks County history through our exhibitions and programs. We appreciate this support and the opportunity to give the Playhouse a forum outside of its performance hall.
It’s all coming together, right here in Bucks County, with a perfect partnership between our cultural and philanthropic organizations, and all of our many supporters. Thanks to you all!
Happy Birthday, Michener!
What a joyous weekend we just celebrated, honoring the Michener’s 25th birthday with an ’80s Dance and Karaoke Party, family art activities, an architectural walking tour of the Cultural District, lectures, operetta, dance performances and much more. It was so nice to see all of you, from the smallest of children to seasoned Michener-goers who remember what this building looked like when it was a prison.
We’re all eagerly anticipating From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY—Beyond the Icon, but in the weeks leading up to that, there is still time to see three stellar exhibitions: Form, Rhythm, Song, Harry Bertoia: Structure and Sound, and The Breath Within: Ceramic Sculpture by Marian Pritchard.
The season of giving begins here October 4 and 5 when jeweler and metalsmith Sherry Tinsman honors the Michener’s 25th anniversary with a limited edition bracelet, as part of her annual trunk show. October 4 will be a day of art and jewelry, when Celia Bertoia, daughter of artist and designer Harry Bertoia, will give a lecture about her father in conjunction with Harry Bertoia: Structure & Sound. In addition there will be limited edition Harry Bertoia jewelry available, each stamped with the edition number and the initials HB.
Just in time for the holidays, the Gift of Giving XII will take place in the Education Gallery November 17 through December 10. This annual celebration presents a selection of two and three-dimensional art work created by New Hope Solebury School District students.
At the close of the exhibition all works will be gift wrapped and delivered to Trinity Episcopal Church, to be distributed to area residents who are affected by HIV/AIDS. The opening reception will be November 17 from 2 to 4 pm with refreshments and art activities for the whole family. This exhibition will be on view during our Holiday Open House, December 10.
Prefer to make the gifts you give? You can with the Michener’s Holiday Gift-Making Workshop December 7, 1 to 3 pm. Fee: $30 members/ $35 non-members. Every participant will create two beautiful handmade gifts, have the opportunity to wrap them, and create original greeting cards before they bring them home in this all-out gift-making celebration.
You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it twice, so treat your family to something nice: a wonderful evening of holiday festivities at the Michener Art Museum’s annual Holiday Open House December 10, 7 to 9 pm. Area performing artists will present entertainment inspired by the season. Family fun includes games, discovery boxes, books and art-inspired activities in the Family Education Center.
Give the Gift of Art! If you know a child who loves art, consider a Michener Art Museum Gift Certificate, available for classes and workshops that run throughout the year as well as summer camp.
And what better place to do your holiday shopping than in the Museum Shop — find everything from cards to jewelry, great books about art, and clothing and accessories with a flair. Become a member and save 10 percent on everything you buy – or give the gift of membership.
All About Grace
The excitement is spreading nationally for our upcoming exhibition From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY—Beyond the Icon. I’ve been interviewed by NBC 10 and WNPV AM. Stay tuned for my interview with Brad Segal on WOGL 98.1 Sunday morning at 6:30. Freeman’s Auction magazine wrote a wonderful piece about the exhibition (see Perspectives, page 58-60), and Philadelphia Style is doing a major feature – be sure to pick up the September edition.
Not only is the Michener the only venue in the U.S. for this exhibition, but it will be the largest in the museum’s history, consuming 6,000 square feet of gallery space. In a video produced just for the Michener, Prince Albert speaks of how happy he is to have this exhibition at the Michener, so close to where his mother grew up and began her stage career at the Bucks County Playhouse.
From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly—Beyond the Icon is filled with treasures, from playbills and photographs from Kelly’s performances at the Bucks County Playhouse to artifacts, love letters, movie and family memorabilia, and large-scale photographs of Princess Grace in her most glamorous moments.
The central part of the exhibition is a tribute to Kelly’s love of fashion. The exhibit features the major fashions she wore, including the mint green column gown worn to receive her Oscar and her wedding shoes, headpiece and Bible. Pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Chanel, as well as costumes designed by Edith Head and Helen Rose, will also be on display. The costumes were worn in High Society, Mogambo and To Catch a Thief.
The exhibit also includes the original Hermes purse—now known as the Kelly bag—that Kelly used in 1956 to hide her pregnancy.
From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY—Beyond the Icon is a natural fit for the Michener’s growing audience to share the tangible cultural objects that define an individual whose history has touched many people throughout the world.
Through the Michener’s exhibitions, we are dedicated to presenting artistic, cultural, and historical themes from across disciplines. Grace Kelly is still relevant because of her philosophy of giving, sharing, and sense of duty to her family and country. We look forward to presenting an installation with substance and glamour!
One Year Milestone
On July 9, 2013, I marked the one year milestone as Director & CEO of this terrific institution and I extend my thanks to our members, visitors, museum staff, board of trustees, and community colleagues for the guidance and support I have received during this time. I share with you some reflections that I have presented to our board and staff which articulates some goals for the future.
2012 was an extraordinary year and we seek to build upon the success of such exhibitions as “The Painterly Voice” and “Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery.” We are now using our gallery spaces in different ways and rotating our paintings, sculpture, and design objects which has resulted in fresh perspective and renewed interest in our permanent collection.
The Pfundt Gallery has proven to be a great opportunity to mount single-artist, intimate installations that are powerful, evocative, and resonate with our audience because of our focus on living artists. Installations by Ted Hallman, Karl Stirner, and Marion Pritchard have and will bring us a new and dynamic audience and plenty of press.
The Beans Gallery is a perfect venue for mid-size traveling exhibitions and for exploring more focused curatorial exercises such as our recent “Beauty” exhibition and the newly installed compilation of work by Harry Bertoia.
We also need to remain true to our core: we are the locus for the scholarship on and collecting of the Pennsylvania Impressionists. We will continue to develop opportunities that support that mission and expand the footprint of this important and vital artistic period and genre.
Our permanent collection needs to continue to evolve with special attention to deepening our existing holdings of key artists, focusing on other genres of Bucks County art such as design, photography, wood, and developing our American holdings in a way that informs our early 20th century strengths.
At the same time, we are deliberately expanding our exhibition philosophy to align ourselves with other museums who serve a vital role in their region that complements their urban counterparts. This means looking at artists and themes that resonate on a national/international level and there are numerous opportunities to explore in this arena.
We have re-examined our Membership Benefits to provide more opportunities for interaction with me, with our curators, and with collectors for our upper level members.
There is a goal for Advancement in 2014 to give structure to our planned giving efforts and to make giving to Endowments more exciting! This is an important avenue of support which will sustain the museum well beyond my tenure and it is my intention to participate in this program with a significant estate gift.
This museum is an important locus, a destination, and an important community anchor. We have made the PA Impressionists painters and Bucks County artisans a component of art historical research and collecting. No-one else does what we do in terms of focused collecting, stewardship scholarship, interpretation and exhibition.
We have the pre-eminent scholar in Brian Peterson. We have the material. We have the support. We have an enthusiastic public. We have new spaces in which to execute our vision.
This is a healthy institution. The first year of leadership change after a long tenure is complicated; everyone is listening, learning, adapting and creating a new normal. I think this transition has been relatively smooth and that is a compliment to the board, staff, members, and donors.
More than 200 guests attended the Michener’s 25th Anniversary Founders Celebration June 15.
We gathered under a beautiful summer sky outside the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion to pay tribute to the vision of a core group of individuals who saw Doylestown as a cultural center for Bucks County and beyond: Bill Brenner, Robert Byers, Frank Gallagher, Kay Steele Renninger, Carolyn Calkins Smith and Herman Silverman.
The historic and aesthetic beauty of this town, the extraordinary array of talent that was nurtured in this region, and the determination to create a locus for collecting, exhibition, and stewardship of a critically important artistic genre were just some of the motivations.
These were also smart business people and they understood the value of creating a destination that would also have a positive economic impact on our community.
As we mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of this institution, it is remarkable that all but one of our founders, and a large portion of the people who have served on our board, are able to mark this milestone with us.
There are some remarkable stories to tell about the evolution of our museum. The County Commissioners established an arts council in the early 1980s and Herman Silverman, Kay Renninger, Bill Brenner, Selma Bourtner, and Denver Lindley were part of the consortium of business, community, and artistic leaders to give this group credibility.
In the end, there was a happy confluence of people, investors, and physical spaces that led to the establishment of this nationally recognized museum.
We awarded founder Herman Silverman Herman the James A. Michener Legacy Award. This is no ordinary award — it has only been presented once. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a high standard of excellence in the literary, visual or performance arts, or shaped the landscape of the arts community through their vision and philanthropy. Herman was recognized for transforming this institution and this community with his passion and deliberate and consistent message that we are worth the investment.
Herman has carried the torch for this museum from the very beginning and continues to be influential and instrumental in its evolution. Herman first met James Michener at the veterans of foreign wars meetings post World War II. Their friendship and mutual respect endured until Michener’s death.
A one-of-a-kind glass composition by Don Gonzalez of Echo Beach Glass in Stockton, N.J., was commissioned on Herman’s behalf as we applauded his spirit, energy, and commitment to the James A. Michener Art Museum.
Form, Rhythm, Song
Our new exhibition, Form, Rhythm Song, is the second of a two-part installation focused on contemporary artists in the Philadelphia region. Form, Rhythm Song celebrates the artist as designer and dancer, and art as movement, and in tandem with that theme we are planning a special program on Thursday, May 30, titled “Tourette’s: A Dancing Disorder.”
Is Tourette’s Syndrome a disorder, or is it a form of creative intelligence in disguise?
“Tourette’s: A Dancing Disorder” is a performance piece that challenges and inspires audiences to take another look at definitions of disability. It will be performed in the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion at the Michener May 30, 7 to 8:30 pm.
Band Of Artists is a collaborative of performers, some of whom live with Tourette’s Syndrome. All are equally invested in the creative exploration of this neurological disorder. Combining Tourette’s characteristics with dance, music and film, Band of Artists offers an enlightening perspective on this neuro-psychological experience
Please join us for the performance May 30 — tickets are included with museum admission. Seating is limited, so please call 215-340-9800 to reserve tickets.
It’s been a tremendously exciting week at the Michener Art Museum.
On Wednesday, we celebrated Michener Art Museum Tribute Day. More than 600 people came through our doors to help kick off our 25th anniversary year of celebrations. We launched our new logos, heralded on banners hanging from the front of the building.
We introduced our voting booths for The People’s Choice: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25. This exhibit, scheduled for 2014, invites YOU to be the curator! Please stop in and view the selections from our permanent collection, then vote for your top three choices. The 25 works that receive the most votes will be exhibited in the Commonwealth Gallery next year.
We also launched our brand-new website. It’s been a year in the making, and it took a village, but we’re proud of the results and have already received terrific feedback. You’ll find the new website is easier to navigate and mobile friendly. Everything has been designed to make it more accessible to you, with improved graphics and a calendar of events that is searchable by category. Please visit it often, and let us know what you think.
And we welcomed back a mule – the “Burro of Doylestown” by Linda Williams now greets visitors to our front door. So there are more reasons than ever to visit the Michener!
Lisa Tremper Hanover
Interviewed on Lively Arts at the GoggleWorks:
Help us Celebrate Our 25th Anniversary
This spring kicks off our 25th anniversary celebrations at the Michener Art Museum. We have planned gala-to-gala events for our silver anniversary year.
As we look at our past growth and see where we want to go in the future, our goals are to re-engage, re-invigorate and re-invest in the museum, and to that end we will be launching a new logo. Keep your eyes peeled for the unveiling!
Some of the highlights of our anniversary celebrations include:
- Adding 25 significant new works to our permanent collection!
- Using social media, museum visitors will propose their favorite work or works in our permanent collection. The top 25 will comprise a dedicated exhibition for our 25th anniversary.
- Renewing our focus on James A. Michener, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of more than 40 novels, including Tales of the South Pacific, to younger readers. The Doylestown native gave both his name and significant financial contributions to our museum.
- We will give special recognition to members, Corporate Business Partners and donors who have been dedicated to us for all 25 years.
- We would like to acknowledge the seed money in support of the 25th anniversary from a generous bequest from Gretchen H. Knoell.
- Bruce Normal Long and Beth Beans Gilbert will serve as co-chairs for our Kickoff Gala, honoring our founders, and Zoriana Siokalo and Leslie Skilton will co-chair the 25th anniversary committee.
Along with all the excitement, we have purchased the tile mule by artist Linda Williams. You will see it here in the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden.
Finally, we want to celebrate all our constituents: Members, donors, sponsors, school children, volunteers, Doylestown, and our staff and board. Please join us in celebrating 25 years of growth at the Michener Art Museum.
Director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover writes quarterly to update visitors on museum happenings and offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Michener Art Museum.