Featured Image: Spring semester began with an outstanding collaboration within the College of Fine Arts to host a residency, workshop, lecture, performance, and exhibition with internationally known artist Carrie Mae Weems. Here, Ms. Weems meets with Ohio University students in the exhibition “The Usual Suspects.”

We continued the year-long cross disciplinary discussion series related to exhibitions with “The Absence of the Syrian Artist” by Basil Masri Zada (PhD candidate, School of Interdisciplinary Arts)  and “Islam and the Arab Uprisings” with Dr. Loren D. Lybarger (Associate Professor, Department of Classics and World Religions, and Director, Islamic Studies Certificate Program).

KMA hosted the biannual School of Art + Design Faculty Exhibition this past spring with artist talks by Mark Franz (Associate Professor and Chair, Graphic Design) and Duane McDiarmid (Professor and Chair, Sculpture and Expanded Practice).

In March KMA hosted a day-long Visual Thinking Strategies workshop with VTS trainer Madison Brookshire. Participants from across campus joined Museum staff in exploring this method of visual analysis which promotes empathy, comfort with ambiguity, and cross-disciplinary thinking. Staff and faculty from the Heritage College of Medicine, the College of Health and Science Professions, Ohio University Libraries, and the College of Fine Arts spent the day together in a unique experience that encouraged us all to think of new ways to collaborate.

In April and May we had over 750 K-12 students visit the Museum. Emma and Sarah got to hone their touring skills in the exhibition they helped curate as part of the 2018-2019 Museum Studies cohort, and we chartered new ground with a collaboration with the new OHIO Museum Complex exhibition “Through the Appalachian Forest.” (click here to see booklet documenting this collaboration).

Lisa leads Athens Head Start in “taking the pose” as they examine paintings on view this summer. As Educational Programs Coordinator, Lisa will refocus her work at the Museum this coming academic year to expand and strengthen our visual literacy programming.

In June we followed the VTS workshop with a Visual Literacy Workshop for members of the Heritage College of Medicine who are engaged in the teaching of “The Open Book Project: A Narrative Medicine Program for Social Justice & Inclusion.” Lisa facilitated a discussion with a photograph by Lloyd Moore while participant Sharon Casapulla led her peers in examining Lorna Simpson’s “Counting.”

In late June I visited the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for the annual conference of Academic Museums and Galleries, where the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum hosted an opening night reception for academic museum professionals from across the country. Sessions this year were meaningful in creating dialogue on the unique position we occupy as University staff members from a variety of museum discipline areas.

Stay tuned for upcoming visual literacy activities as we dedicate the multipurpose gallery in the Christine Demler Brown Center for Art (on the second floor of the Museum) this academic year to the display of objects from our collections that challenge and enhance our investigation of the question: exactly what do we mean by “visual literacy” in today’s society?