There is often a perceived separation between medicine and the sciences and creativity and the arts. In reality, however, creativity is simply the process of looking at something through a new lens. Museum educators Samantha Kelly and Suzy Harris tested this theory through an innovative partnership with UAB Medical School during a 9-hour pilot course offered to 10 medical students in October. Our hope for this partnership was to provide the opportunity for medical students to bridge that gap between art and the sciences and to help them become more creative and reflective thinkers as they observe—and ultimately diagnose—their patients. The experience surpassed our highest expectations, as we engaged in hours of close looking at original works of art, rich and rewarding dialogue and discussion, and challenged traditional notions of medical practice.
This course, although inspired by existing programs at Yale and Harvard, was conceived in collaboration with Stephen Russell, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UAB, who approached the Museum last spring about the possibility. Working with Russell was a natural fit, as his teaching methodology blended well with the Museum’s educational philosophy. “We have two goals for the medical students in the Art in Medicine course,” shared Russell. “The first goal is to fill their diagnostic toolbox with sharper eyes and more flexible minds. The second goal is for them to recognize that creatively interpreting an unfamiliar situation, whether in a painting or in a patient, begins with close observation. By the end of the week, we hope they will appreciate the importance of taking time to look, to ask, and to observe.”
We, in fact, achieved far more than these goals, which is evident from a fourth-year medical student’s assessment of the program. “It is so true and frightening that years of medical education will get you nowhere without first being able to just stop, look, and reflect on what you see. It is not just the seeing that is important, but also the interpretation of what we see as physicians. I am going to try to be a better physician using the skills I learned today…. and really see my patients so that I can be of better service to them.”
The Museum will offer an extended version of this course again in February. We hope to build on this initial success by making this a permanent course offering in the future.
The Museum is making great strides in connecting with the communities that house the nine elementary schools we are focusing on, as part of our third grade arts integration program with the Birmingham City School system. These neighborhoods include Avondale, Central Park, Ensley, Glen Iris, Arlington West End, North Roebuck, South East Lake, Sandusky, and North Avondale. We are excited to share that we have attended multiple PTA meetings in each of these nine districts as part of the complimentary community-based programs. The week of November 14 was particularly rewarding, as we helped the elementary schools celebrate American Education Week and attended all nine PTA meetings offered that week.
In addition, Artist-In-Residence Toby Richards has traveled to each of the nine neighborhood association meetings, as well as the Community Advisory Board meeting for all of Birmingham’s 99 Neighborhoods. We are hosting activities and hands-on projects at Jimmie Hudson / Sandusky Recreation Center, have participated in several career fairs in the schools, and are partnering with the after-school programs at United Methodist Churches in Pratt City and Central Park. The Five Points West Library and West End Library are working with us to enhance the family services they already provide.
The collaboration also invites these communities to participate in Museum events and activities. We are distributing promotional materials about our family program offerings through the neighborhood associations, churches, and libraries, which resulted in increased attendance at our October family day, Bart’s Spooktacular. The Museum is currently working on plans to host PTA meetings and community organization meetings. It is our hope to fully engage these communities and educate the whole child (beyond their school studies) as we continue to provide a true partnership in education.
The Birmingham Museum of Art has been recognized for making the 9th most important acquisition worldwide by esteemed British arts publication, Apollo magazine for its stunning Vietnamese jar from the Le Dynasty. The December issue of Apollo puts the Birmingham Museum of Art in the company of institutional greats including the Musée du Louvre, the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, the Frick Collection, and the British Museum. Purchased with funds provided by the estate of William M. Spencer III, the 24¼-inch-tall jar dates from the 15th-16th century and will be showcased as the centerpiece for the Museum's upcoming exhibition, Dragons and Lotus Blossoms: Vietnamese Ceramics from the Birmingham Museum of Art. Click here to read Apollo's article with a detailed list of the most important acquisitions worldwide.
Recent Annual Fund donor and Junior Patron member Margaret Whiteside wants you to know why she gives to the Annual Fund.
What does the Museum mean to you?
Art has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember, and studying art and artists is a passion of mine. The BMA is one of the few places in this hectic world where I can go to slow down, relax, and appreciate beautiful objects and know that I will never be disappointed by what I see.
Why did you decide to donate to the Annual Fund this year?
I realize that all gifts, regardless of size, make a difference to the Museum and that through my support I may help others discover their love of art. It’s a small way of giving back to a place that gives so much to so many.
Why is it important to you to be a member and, specifically, a Junior Patron of the Museum?
It’s important for me to be a member and JP so that I can continue to be involved with the Museum and feel connected to what’s going on. There are so many wonderful programs and benefits for members, plus it’s great to be able to routinely gather with fellow art lovers.
We hope that YOU will be inspired to give to the Annual Fund, too! Gifts support the Museum's areas of greatest need. Please CLICK HERE to donate now!
For more information on Junior Patrons membership, please click here.
The Birmingham Museum of Art proudly presents Haochen Zhang, The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medalist of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, performing at the Annual Rushton Concert. This concert will take place in the Steiner Auditorium and is offered to the public for free on a first come, first served basis.
6:00 pm //
Pre-concert tour of the exhibition, Daumier: Art for the Masses. Led by Chief Curator Jeannine O’Grody.
7:30 pm //
Concert begins with renowned pianist, Haochen Zhang, Gold Medalist winner at the 13th Van Cliburn Competition. The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medalist of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Haochen Zhang "demonstrated a musical maturity almost unimaginable in one so young," observed Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News.
The youngest participant in the competition at 19, the pianist was previously recognized for his prodigious talent as the youngest winner of the 2007 China International Piano Competition when he was 17 years old. A sensitive musician and insightful programmer, Mr. Zhang is in demand worldwide for orchestral and recital engagements. He launched his first year as a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist with prestigious engagements, including the Aspen Summer Music Festival and Academy, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and as part of Carnegie Hall's "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture." He also made a triumphant return to his native China as soloist at the Beijing Music Festival in the winter of 2009.
Mark your calendar for our upcoming annual Members Shopping Day! We will be opening our doors on a Monday to give you and your guests this incredible opportunity for shopping and more!
Visit the Museum Store to enjoy a 20 percent discount on all regularly-priced merchandise, and buy one of a kind gifts from unique trunk show vendors in the store and the café – and FREE gift wrap.
While you’re here, eat a holiday lunch at Oscar’s discounted by 10 percent! We recommend reservations, either through our web site or by calling 205-328-7850.
Take in guided tours - Daumier: Art for the Masses – with Deputy Director Jeannine O’Grody and Celebrate Life: The Art of Chris Clark, with Director Gail Andrews. See the authors of the new children’s book Night, Night Birmingham, Laurel Mills and Michelle Hyde, who will sign copies for our visitors.
From 3pm to 5pm, you can Eat, Drink, and Be Pampered with complimentary appetizers, a glass of wine, and a 15-minute massage, while the kids Get Crafty, enjoying snacks and art activities planned just for them!
Don’t miss the shopping event of the season!
Henry Adams of the Smithsonian praises the Museum's new Jazz Bowl by Viktor Schreckengost.
"It’s enough to make you want to start doing the Charleston: A masterpiece of earthenware, a Jazz Bowl by Viktor Schreckengost, has been newly acquired and newly displayed at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. In my view, the Jazz Bowl —several dozen of which were produced—has emerged in the last decade as not only the single finest example of American Art Deco, but as an icon of a new mode of American cultural identity."
Sunday, November 06, 2011, 2:15pm, at Birmingham Public Library*
Dr. Graham C. Boettcher, William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Muesum of Art presents this opening lecture in conjunction with The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork from the 1930s and 1940s, an exhibition on display in the Birmingham Public Library's Library Gallery, organized by the Birmingham Historical Society.
*Please note, this exhibition and lecture take place at the Birmingham Public Library.
Morten Løbner Espersen, internationally renowned Danish potter and former professor of ceramics at Göteborg University, Sweden, will talk about his experience, his work, and the Danish tradition in pottery in conjunction with our exhibition Tradition Transformed: Danish Ceramics in the Twentieth Century. FREE. 7pm.
The Museum will be open from 5-9pm for First Thursday! After Hours at the BMA. Come enjoy tapas or pizza on the Spencer Terrace, wander our galleries, and check out the exhibition before or after the lecture!
The American Ceramic Circle will hold its annual symposium at the Birmingham Museum of Art November 3-6, 2011.
Function and Fancy: Ceramics from Across the Globe will highlight the Museum’s extensive collection of ceramics from all regions and periods. Themes covered will range from Vietnamese ceramics to Alabama folk pottery to Wedgwood, English and French porcelain, and Meissen stoneware.
For a full schedule, please look under the Events tab.
Diane McWhorter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home, will co-moderate a panel discussion, Historians and History Makers Pay Tribute to the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, from 3pm to 5pm Sunday at the Museum.
The discussion is a part of a weekend filled with public conversations about the cultural and historical significance of the late civil rights activist, whose recent death sparked reflection and mourning throughout the country.
The panel, which will be held in the BMA’s Steiner Auditorium, will be co-moderated by Robert G. Corley, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Confirmed panelists include Howell Raines, former editor of The New York Times; Marjorie White, director of the Birmingham Historical Society; retired U.S. District Court Judge U.W. Clemon Andrew Manis, award-winning author of the Shuttlesworth biography A Fire You Can’t Put Out ; Mark Kelly, publisher of Weld; Birmingham archivist Jim Baggett; Odessa Woolfolk, educator, activist and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute founder; Bishop Calvin Woods, president of the Birmingham Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; long-time Shuttlesworth associate Colonel Stone Johnson; activist Eileen Kelley Walbert; Freedom Rider Catherine Burks-Brooks; lifelong Sixteen Street Baptist Church member and activist Carolyn McKinstry; former detective Dan Jordan; and Judy Hand-Truitt, who worked with Shuttlesworth in the post-civil rights era.
The Museum is pleased to welcome Rebecca Dobrinski to our staff. Rebecca is an avid writer who recently completed a master's degree in history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is also a regular contributor to the Magic City Post, a website that takes a "daily look at the Birmingham metro area that shows off the best the region has to offer."
Rebecca holds a B.A. in History from UAB and an M.A. in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
You can learn more about Rebecca and see some of her writing on her blog, The Scribe & The Scrum.
In the video below, Rebecca speaks on the future of Birmingham (1:06) in celebration of the Magic City Post's one-year anniversary.
To see the full Magic City Post article, please click here.
The City of Birmingham is undergoing its first comprehensive city plan in 50 years. The goal is to shape the future of the Magic City, with a 20-year policy and strategic framework. Organizers hope The Plan will guide the physical development of the city, based on community vision and goals for neighborhoods, jobs, economic development, parks, the environment, transportation, public services and infrastructure. As an early step in that process, the City is inviting you to a Citywide Visioning Forum this Saturday, October 22, from 9am to 1pm at the Birmingham CrossPlex, formerly known as the Alabama State Fairgrounds. For more information, click here: www.birminghamcomprehensiveplan.com
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Red Mountain Garden Club has been a vital partner with the Birmingham Museum of Art since the Museum’s inception 60 years ago. When the Museum opened its doors on its present site a portion of the property was designated as a Memorial Garden established and cared for by the Red Mountain Garden Club. That stewardship continues today with the Museum’s beautiful Red Mountain Garden Club Memorial Garden, named last year among the Ten Great Public Spaces for 2010 by the American Planning Association.
This year the Red Mountain Garden Club plans a special project to enhance the beauty and function of the garden through a new lighting design. Funding for continued care and improvements to the Memorial Garden is provided by the Club through a variety of sources. One of the most significant funding sources is the proceeds from the Club’s annual greenery sale. This year’s sale will take place on December 7 from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Co-chairs for the sale are Anne Couch and Holly Goodbody.
Please join us for a FREE opening lecture by Dr. Patrick Rowe followed by a members-only reception for the exhibition Daumier: Art for the Masses.
Friday, October 14, 2011
in the Museum's Steiner Auditorium
Dr. Patrick M. Rowe. Lender to the Daumier exhibition, will present a lecture entitled Art for the Masses. Dr. Rowe will describe how the Industrial Revolution and increased literacy allowed people with a low or moderate income to acquire art created by master printmakers.
Dr. Rowe has taught at Florida State University, the University of West Florida, and Pensacola State College. He specializes in Etruscan and Roman art and archaeology, as well as the history of printmaking during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From 1976 until 2002, he excavated at the Etrusco-Roman site of Cetamura in Italy. Currently, he is organizing exhibitions of drawings, lithographs, wood engravings, and woodblock prints from his private collection.
Not a member, but want to attend the recepction? JOIN NOW by clicking here.