Frank Vagnone is the President and CEO of Old Salem Museums & Gardens in Winston-Salem, NC. He is also the Principal of Twisted Preservation Cultural Consulting and was our #museummaverick for both the Hudson Valley and the Long Island sessions of the NYSCA/GHHN Creativity Incubator. Here is his message on COVID-19.
Rainey Tisdale was our #museummaverick for the Northern NY session of the CI. Here, she shares her thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it means for museums and cultural institutions.
We are all reeling from the profound changes this pandemic is causing to our personal lives, our work lives, our communities, and to society at large.
I have been talking with colleagues at cultural organizations across the country, and it’s clear that for the majority of us, the work we all thought was the right work two weeks ago is no longer the right work—we are being called to pivot and adjust as best we can. Indeed, most if not all of you may find you need to alter your work plan substantially to adapt to these new circumstances. The good news is that creative problem solving is a powerful tool for uncertain times, intense change is just as much an opportunity as it is a threat, and a pandemic can serve as a powerful creative constraint.
What do the people you serve need from your organization in the months ahead? Distraction? Reflection? Inspiration? Ways to connect socially while remaining distant physically? Ways to express themselves? Ways to mourn? Tools to stay focused on what matters? Keep your mind and heart on them and you can do amazing things.
Be well, #FlattenTheCurve, and remember we’re all in this together,
The NYSCA/GHHN Creativity Incubator Grant Program provides NYS museums with financial support (up to $5,000 each) to experiment with and/or implement ideas inspired by the spirit of the Creativity Incubator workshops, held from 2017-2019.
Congratulations to the 2020 Awardees:
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
What are the most effective and engaging ways to involve diverse audiences in a dialogue about the history of enslaved people in their community? Working with artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum staff will curate a site-specific installation which will immerse visitors in a visual representation of current research on the people who were enslaved by the Dyckman family. "Liberated Words" will weave together stories, imagery and color, using dynamic projection mapping in the historic farmhouse.
Fenton History Center
The Fenton History Center experienced a 'moment of truth' when a local LGBTQIA+ group asked for materials for a Pride celebration. The museum realized it did not have much in its collections. Working with under-represented communities, the Fenton History Center will dedicate a previous exhibition space which community members will actively participate in designing and populating. Seeking to encourage community conversations and to establish a shared authority, this less-structured space will be dynamic and experimental - and may look vastly different depending on the day.
Hanford Mills Museum
How can one site find a cross-disciplinary confluence between art, natural resources and history? By working with musicians, visual artists, landscape architects, and historians, the staff and board of Hanford Mills Museum will explore new avenues of interpretation connecting the museum's historic site and collections to issues around resource justice/equity, environmentalism, and climate change.
Putnam History Museum
Engaging more people with the stories of its community is the ultimate goal of the Putnam History Museum. To achieve this the museum will create a family-friendly, inter-generational race with pop-up exhibitions along its route. Interacting with collections, considering historical questions and discussing about local history will keep participants moving along the course. Who will win?! By collaborating with local business owners and Chamber of Commerce, exciting new audiences about the community and its stories, this project will have more than one winner.
Rochester Museum & Science Center
As a component of the Rochester Museum & Science Center's exhibition "The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World" visitors will be able to interact with a historical figure through holographic experiences. Combining collected oral histories, and collections objects the museum will share first-person stories like that of Alice Mathis, an African-American woman and seasonal agricultural worker who taught farmers and encouraged young people to gain an education.
Stony Brook Foundation (Pollock-Krasner House)
Interpreting Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's studio space without owning any of their paintings has been a challenge for the Pollock Krasner House. A potential solution: virtual reality! Using Oculus Quest headsets, visitors will be able to experience the building as it was when the artists were alive. Visitors will be able to hear the artists' voices and "see" the paintings as if Pollock had just left the room. The site has worked with experimental artists in many genres, making it an ideal site for this project.
Victor D'Amico Institute of Art
Starting from the premise that all individuals are uniquely creative and that art should be accessible to all, the Victor D'Amico Institute of Art aims to better connect its participatory art barge and its historic site, the studio of art educator Victor D'Amico and artist Mabel D'Amico. "Motivations" will draw from the philosophies of the D'Amicos by bringing them to life through actors who will engage with audiences via a collections object. The object becomes a springboard for an exploration of creativity - an experience which will be unique in every performance.
Andrea Jones chats with Sarah Litvin of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History
Andrea Jones chats with Ali Smith of the Tenement Museum
The final NYSCA/GHHN #creativityincubator workshop took place on Thursday, November 21 (thank you to our most gracious hosts at Weeksville Heritage Center, and to our fantastic Museum Maverick Andrea Jones of Peak Experience Lab) - but this is not your last opportunity to be creative! Check out the video message below and stay tuned for more details coming soon!
THE CREATIVITY INCUBATOR IS COMING TO NEW YORK CITY IN NOVEMBER 2019!
If you are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, or Queens - then we are looking for you!
What is the "Creativity Incubator?" it's a chance to put all your pre-conceptions aside, and use your imagination to experiment and explore different ways to engage with different audiences. The program is hosted by a museum which becomes a lab - we use that space and the museum's collections to brainstorm ways to be more interactive and relevant. Activities are led by a "Museum Maverick" - in the past we have worked with Linda Norris and Rainey Tisdale, authors of Creativity in Museums , Franklin Vagnone of Twisted Preservation, Lia Tamborra from Museum Hack, Gonzalo Casals of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and for New York City we will be bringing back Andrea Jones of Peak Experience Lab. You can read more about her work here: www.peakexperiencelab.com. We have the "Maverick" now we need the venue.
That's where you come in! We are looking for a museum to host our seventh and final Creativity Incubator.
Past sites have included: Boscobel House & Gardens (Garrison), Raynham Hall Museum (Oyster Bay), Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute (Utica), Quick Arts Center (Olean), Finger Lakes Boating Museum (Hammondsport), and Adirondack History Museum (Elizabethtown).
WHAT WE NEED IN A HOST SITE:
PRIORITIES FOR SELECTING FINALISTS:
NYSCA and GHHN staff will review the following to select a host.
Provide the most creative response to the following: The top 5 reasons why we should pick your site.
Tie-breaker: Organizations which have not worked with an outside consultant related to interpretation in the past 3 years. (Please be honest - we can check).
WHAT YOU GET FROM BEING A HOST SITE:
Ready? Apply by clicking below! Application Deadline: September 9, 2019
To see other photos from this session, please click here.
We are officially SOLD OUT for our upcoming CI: Northern NY Session - which will be held at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. Our #museummaverick for the session is Rainey Tisdale - you can see her in action in the TEDx Boston talk below:
For this Creativity Challenge, we want you to take work of art - either one from your site or one you can find online (and credit of course!) - and then reimagine/recreate it using unconventional materials. These can be office supplies, or food, or even children's toys.
For inspiration: check out these classic food paintings, these artistic masterpieces recreated as food, or these "Recreations of Famous Paintings of Myths Using Only My Children’s Toys".
Bonus points if you recreate the work of art using yourself, like these folks:
As always, don't forget to post your challenge photo on social media using the hashtag #creativityincubator and post in the CI Community on FB, or on Twitter or Instagram - that’s it! Remember to tag GHHN and NYSCA in the posts so we can see them! (GHHN - Greater Hudson Heritage Network, @theGHHN, NYSCA - New York State Council on the Arts, @NYSCArts)
A place to share ideas and stories born out of the NYSCA/GHHN