Fleming Museum’s Spring 2020 catalogue is covered in brightly colored, dancing people. It features a painting by Wood Gaylor, the inspiration for one of the museum’s exhibitions.
According to Fleming’s website, the “Wood Gaylor Exhibition” and “Warp: War Rugs of Afghanistan” will run from Feb. 7 through March 8. “Animal Transformations” will run from Jan. 21 through May 8.
“Contemporary Voices of Vermont” which began Sept. 10 will be on display until May 8.
Alice Boone, curator of education and public programs, worked to plan the spring programming at Fleming.
“[The Gaylor] painting screams to be danced to,” Boone said. “We’re going to have a costume ball. It’s free if you dress up in a costume, especially one inspired by those images.”
As one of eight staff members in the whole museum, Boone works to create different ways for people to engage with art. She also imagines events that will attract different people to the museum.
“I like to think of it as playing a type of lawn game,” Boone said. “I find creative, stimulating ways for people to respond to the programs, while thinking about who is not coming and how I can interest them.”
Fleming will host a student-curated event called “Animal Transformations.”
The event was curated by an anthropology class led by associate professor Jennifer Dickinson and Margaret Tamulonis, manager of Collections and Exhibitions.
“Students pitched ideas and came up with this theme of how human beings transform animal materials or how ideas of animals become transformed into man-made objects,” Dickinson said.
Senior Zoe Albion said the animals in the objects are not obvious, and she hopes viewers stop and engage with the art.
“It’s important to experience natural history in an interdisciplinary way,” Albion said. “There’s all this scientific value to animal specimens and an amazing cultural value too, and I think people should interact with them in different ways.”
Dickinson said she hopes that the exhibit will capture the viewer’s attention and encourage them to engage with the material.
“We are always hoping that there are one or two labels that will catch someone’s eye and get them to think differently about animals and the hidden ways animal materials show up all around us,” Dickinson said.
The exhibit “Warp: War Rugs of Afghanistan” will be a different experience compared to the costume ball.
“The Afghan War Rug show is going to be a painful subject, so that human experience cannot be generalized,” Boone said. “It requires being thoughtful and respectful about the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the people affected by it.”
Safiya Wazir, a member of the New Hampshire State House of Representatives, will come to speak about her experiences as an Afghanistan refugee on Feb. 28, Boone said.
“The thing I love to do is to think in public with people,” Boone said. “I want people to think in public and change their mind. Seeing others respond to art makes you change your own mode of response too.”