Last month, the Currier Museum of Art held a well-attended opening reception for Saya Woolfalk’s “Heart of a Museum” exhibit. This experiential installation includes video, sculpture and sound. A visitor will also find floor cushions as one additional way to enjoy this fully immersive experience. As the Manchester Ink Link expands coverage of Arts and Cultural happenings, we are excited to include new voices to share their expertise and joy in the things that make our community special.
Below: A short video showing off just part of the experiential installation by artist Saya Woolfalk. Combining video, sculpture and sound this work invites contemplation. InkLink video | Keith Spiro
InkLinkArts invited, Suzanne Canali, the Currier Museum’s Director of Education, to share her own observations about this exhibit which will be on view through Sunday February 4, 2024. And we call attention to her comments below, that there is funding to cover admission and possibly transportation support for all public New Hampshire Title I school-wide programs.
Suzanne Canali, Museum Director of Education says:
I recently attended the Saya Woolfalk exhibition opening at the Currier Museum of Art. I am a museum staff member and have attended several other exhibition openings. This one was different. The exhibition Heart of a Museum sends a clear message from the artist to viewers about equitable representation in museums. I am so inspired seeing the installation and glad to be afforded this opportunity to share my thoughts. I encourage all New Hampshire school-aged students, especially teenagers, to see and experience it before the exhibition closes.
Woolfalk’s installation creates a magical, immersive, world-building experience while dismantling typical museum archetypes, namely Westernized representations of religious stories and historical figures. At the same time, her work is site-specific. The inspiration for Heart of a Museum originated from the Lascari mosaics that flank either side of the Currier’s original front entry, now connecting the original building to the Winter Garden and addition in 2008.
The Currier’s curator of education and interpretation, Rachael Kane, explains that Woolfalk incorporates imagery from the Currier’s mosaics in the exhibition “…as a way of suggesting that the art world should deconstruct and move past social divisions, like race or religion.” The installation begins in a room with floor-to-ceiling imagery that effectively dismantles such representations, sending visitors into a dreamy, illuminated universe.
The environment created by Woolfalk makes me feel part of something much more significant than labels used to define who I am. If that is my response, I can only imagine and hope others will feel the same way. This is especially needed for our school-aged children who still experience isolation and lack of social connection. The Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, warned as much last May that loneliness is an epidemic in America, especially for teenagers. I dare say this exhibition may inspire teenagers to feel connected. Instead of feeling like one person separated from others, they may start to feel like they are everything and connected to everyone.
Plan your school visit
If you are a parent or educator or both, consider a field trip to the museum to see the Woolfalk exhibition. The Currier is proud to offer several resources to defray or even absorb the cost of school field trips. There is funding to cover admission for all public NH Title I school-wide programs. Since bussing is such a considerable factor in field trip accessibility, transportation support is still available on a first-come, first-serve basis via the Yellow Bus Fund. More reason to plan a field trip to the Currier Museum of Art now and experience this very special exhibition before it leaves in February.
Director of Education