VPA professor receives NYSCA pilot grant for project that combines art and local historic site
VPA professor receives NYSCA pilot grant for projectthat combines art and local historic siteApril 22, 2005Jaime Winne Alvarez email@example.com
With a pilot grant from the Museum Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Sarah McCoubrey, a landscape painter and professor in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville will take part in the “Sites Re-Seen” initiative. The award will be used to create an exhibit of images and documents depicting the life of a fictional, 19th-century character, Hannah Morse, to be displayed in the Gage House this November.
The “Sites Re-Seen” pilot program is designed to foster interaction between professional artists and historic sites in New York State. “The possibility of having artists consider the history and mission of these organizations as a jumping-off point for their work is an exciting new direction for many historic sites, and a step forward for the field,” says Kristin Herron, director of the museum program for NYSCA.
McCoubrey is creating an archive of material surrounding the artistic life of her fictional alter ego, Morse, a 19th-century woman struggling to become a great landscape painter. In the process, Morse has invented several devices to aid her painting. McCoubrey draws upon 20 years’ experience as a landscape painter to reveal what Morse learns in her journey as an artist. For the exhibit, McCoubrey will answer the question, “What if Hannah Morse met the real-life Matilda Joslyn Gage?” She will insert Morse into dialogue with suffragette Gage through the creation of letters and images about Gage’s sociocultural experience. Gage, a leader in the early women’s rights movement who became an amateur painter later in life, was interested in female inventors and wrote on the subject.
“We think that Matilda Joslyn Gage and Hannah Morse would have been friends,” says Sally Roesch Wagner, Gage Foundation Executive Director. “Not only would they have talked about painting, but Gage would have encouraged Morse to explore her full potential as an artist, an inventor and a person, as she did for all women.”
Says McCoubrey, “Connecting Morse to Gage is a way of connecting her to the vibrant moment in Central New York, when courageous women helped shape the intellectual and cultural landscape of the 19th century.”
Thirty-four organizations across the state applied for the “Sites Re-Seen” pilot grants; four were chosen. The other grantees for the pilot program include the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, the Pollock-Krasner House in East Hampton and the Hudson Opera House in Hudson. Projects were reviewed on the significance of the historical topic, strength of the art and the applicant’s ability to implement the endeavor. Additionally, the art needs to be site-specific and accessible to the public.
The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens. NYSCA’s Museum Program supports more than 300 museums and historical societies. The program values projects that make arts and culture relevant to today’s audiences and encourages museums to be responsive to visitors and communities.