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Letter from the Director: Spring 2014

Hood Quarterly, spring 2014
Michael Taylor, Director

This spring at the Hood Museum of Art, we are delighted to present two dynamic exhibitions that celebrate the distinguished history and continued vitality of Dartmouth’s Artist-in-Residence Program. The tradition of inviting practicing artists to Dartmouth College—to make works of art, to interact with students, faculty, and the local community, and to exhibit their work on campus—is a long-standing one. The program was established in 1931 when the Guatemalan painter Carlos Sánchez, Dartmouth Class of 1923, returned to campus for a yearlong fellowship. As a young Dartmouth graduate who had assisted Diego Rivera on two public mural projects in Mexico, Sánchez was the perfect choice to be the first artist-in-residence at the College. His selection also spoke to Lathrop’s aspiration to bring artists from around the world to campus, a desire that continues to this day.

In Residence: Contemporary Artists at Dartmouth showcases the work of more than eighty artists who have participated in this program since its inception, including Daniel Heyman, Dartmouth Class of 1985, who returned as artist-in-residence in the fall of 2013. The Alumni Voices feature in this issue consists of a lively interview with Heyman and the Hood’s Deputy Director, Juliette Bianco, Dartmouth Class of 1994, which discusses his work and ideas, as well as his recent experiences on campus. Another important former artist-in-residence whose work is presented in the exhibition is Allan Houser (1914–1994), one of the most significant Native American artists of the twentieth century, who came to campus in the spring of 1979. The Hood is one of several art museums across the country that will honor the centennial of the artist’s birth. In addition to his work in the In Residence exhibition, as well as the permanent installation of his sculpture Peaceful Serenity (1992) at the Sherman House, home of the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College, Houser’s work and legacy will be celebrated with a yearlong display in the Maffei Arts Plaza of five of the artist’s greatest sculptures, on loan from the Houser Foundation, Inc.

Finally, this spring, we introduce you to a Hood collection area that has never before been exhibited or published. The Art of Weapons: Selections from the African Collection is a special installation of dozens of weapons—including knives, clubs, axes, swords, and shields—made for a variety of cultural and social purposes across the African continent. This exhibition highlights these objects for the first time, exploring them as works of art and objects of powerful significance, to their creators and to the collectors who later donated them to the College.

The staff of the Hood Museum of Art is dedicated to cultivating experiential learning methods that all of our visitors can use to interact with the breadth of human imagination and creativity through the works of art in the collection. This is best demonstrated through the dozens of programs that we present free of charge each year to everyone, the multi-visit programs and tours that our education department prepares with regional schools in support of their curricula, and the endlessly creative ways in which the Dartmouth faculty use the collections for teaching and scholarship. This issue of the Hood Quarterly includes a special focus on how members of the Dartmouth faculty integrate experiential learning into their pedagogical practice by making close looking and direct engagement with art objects an integral part of student coursework. The summer issue of the Hood Quarterly will feature a similar look at experiential learning for K–12 teachers and students. It is this passionate commitment to the museum’s teaching mission that guides the planning for the Hood’s upcoming expansion. An important goal of this project is to create an ideal learning environment for all of our visitors with state-of-theart galleries for important areas of the collection not currently on view, as well as new classrooms equipped with smart technology to meet the increased curricular demand. The next few years are set to be an exciting time at the Hood Museum of Art, and I look forward to sharing our progress on the expansion with you in future issues of the Hood Quarterly. In the meantime, I hope to see you at the museum this spring and trust that your visit will be an enjoyable one.

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