I’m somewhat of a planner not every day but most days. I don’t have a set in stone daily routine or plans but a general outline in my head of my day. My days are pretty consistent there is my morning routine, work routine, and evening routine. Then I sleep and repeat just as most people. Some days during the week there is a switch up.
Sunday was one of those days that I had planned out. Regular morning worship, then stopping for a cool cup of Italian ice, then stop to see an art exhibit at my local art museum, then buy something for a pot luck poetry workshop. Morning worship received a completed check mark and so did buying Italian ice.
I entered the Columbia Museum of Art to view the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit by Tyrone Geter. I wove through the Salvador Dali exhibit titled “Fantastical Fairy Tales”, which I had seen but was packed since yesterday was the exhibits last day. Entering the gallery space that contained Mr. Geter’s work, I was drawn to one particular piece titled “Homeless in the Promised Land.” I was mostly pulled in by the message which was derived from Trump’s “Make America Great Again” theme. The figures depicted did not appear to be doing well and it showed an America that has always existed with poor and homeless regardless of race.
“Homeless in the Promised Land” is a multi-media and multi-layered piece of art. Complex in messaging and depicting magnetic figures. A Trump supporter, a homeless woman, and a homeless man. There is a collage inspired 3-D effect of a blanket with a unique pattern. Hidden in the piece is messaging that makes it clear Trump’s political rhetoric does not address the simple truth of those depicted. Food, clothing and shelter are their most urgent need.
Stepping away from the piece, I was told by the security guard the artist was in the building. The best part was he would be giving a gallery talk at 2pm. I immediately was conflicted because I had a poetry workshop at 2pm. However, how often do you get to hear a shy artist speak about his work? I quickly updated the Facebook event for the poetry workshop to “can’t attend” along with a quick status comment.
Trying to confirm where the talk would occur, I went to the information desk to ask. To my surprise standing next to the desk was Mr. Geter, the artist himself. A kind elderly gentleman who had just learned he was speaking. While standing and chatting with Mr. Geter, a museum employee approached responsible for a renovation space tour for visitors from another museum. The best part was I was invited to tag along. There definitely are perks to being a dedicated museum member and volunteer.
Both the tour and gallery talk did not disappoint. Along with members from the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC I heard about detail of upcoming renovations and expansion of gallery spaces. The cherry on top was the gallery talk by Mr. Geter in front of his artwork. Learning of his history and the determination of his mother who only had a 3rd grade education was inspiring. However, above all was to hear the various muses and motivations behind his artwork.
Mr. Geter indicated the ultimate goal was to emotionally move those who view his work and tell a story. His goal is definitely met with the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit. The exhibit will be at the Columbia Museum of Art until June 11th. The CMA is a winner of the 2016 National Medal for Institute of Museum & Library Service. Thought provoking and current as well as historical art collections is one reason for visiting the award winning museum. Even with renovations in the permanent galleries there is still plenty to see. The National Medal was awarded to the CMA, primarily for its impact to the surrounding community and it does that with outreach to various youth orientated programming.
I know if you visit the Columbia Museum of Art and check out the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit you’ll love them as much as I do. And you just may have a great accidental day as well.
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