Director's Letter: Summer 2018

John Stomberg, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
Hood Quarterly, summer 2018

Hood Downtown has its own secret sauce. Born of necessity, the space has grown into a much-beloved neighborhood institution. With its on-the-street location, picture windows, extended hours, and roster of global contemporary artists, the gallery has attracted much stronger visitorship than anticipated. Now, as we face the end of its run, we ask ourselves how we can transfer to our new museum the experience that our community found so appealing on Main Street.

In this issue of the Hood Quarterly, we've set out to ask our friends for help in understanding Hood Downtown's special attraction. We've heard from our gallery attendants that they are regularly drawn into the conversations emerging naturally from the exhibitions. The dialogue ranges from the history of the storefront location to the significance of the art on view. In the spirit of sharing a sense of these exchanges, we have asked some of our seasoned staff members to gather feedback about the Hood's outpost.

I think you'll find the responses interesting.

We have been listening and looking for the attributes that can be replicated in the new Hood. Our hope is to be able to recreate in the new building some of the same intimacy, warmth, and spontaneity found at Hood Downtown. The new Hood will have inviting ground- level doors facing the Dartmouth Green, a spacious and welcoming atrium, and glass interior doors revealing what's on view in the first galleries.

The new collection installations also will echo our efforts in the Hood Downtown space. During our two-year run there, we have featured artists from France, Iran, Germany, the United States, Denmark, China, and Nigeria. Likewise, for the new Hood we have redoubled our commitment to international art, and, from the first gallery—visible from the Atrium—to those deep into the second level, visitors will encounter art from all around the world, much of it contemporary.

Finally, we are delighted to wrap up the Hood Downtown project on a visionary note. Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola has dared to imagine a world unfettered by the pervasive and enduring scars of colonization. Her large-scale drawings present a timely reminder of what is and what could have been. The work is beautiful, thoughtful, provocative, and relevant—everything we have hoped for Hood Downtown exhibitions.


Written June 27, 2018