Today was a free Friday for our local museums, so Cay and I headed down to the Museum of International Folk Art, a museum I've wanted to visit since I visited Santa Fe some time ago during a Zoo to You trip. We finally got there, and it was worth the wait.
I was awed by the variety of folk art represented in both the permanent and traveling displays, including the Young Brides, Old Treasures display of Macedonian embroidered dresses.
I think the gallery that touched me the most, however , was The Art of Gamen: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946. The art in the gallery was all made from materials on hand in the camps, from sticks, to broken furniture, to stones, to other found objects. Women gave up their kimonos to make dolls, one man carved a wooden katana for his son, then ended up carving more for other boys at the camp. There was lovely animal and nature jewelry carved from wood or made from shells. There were functional pieces like small chairs and tables, and artistic pieces, painting and lovely sculptures. It was hardly believable to think of the talent, spirit and ingenuity of these men and women, who created such beauty in the midst of such hardship.
During the summer, there is also a program called Arts Alive which is shared among several of the museums, including this one, which on Tuesdays and Thursdays offers a hands on art workshop with a different theme or project every week. This week the Folk Art Museum hosted a program to make Uchiwa (Japanese Fans). Several other programs are scheduled, from tours, to Taiko drumming (Aug 19th) and a documentary film, From a Silk Cocoon on September 9th and 12th.
Of course there is no photography in the galleries, so I don't have any of the exhibits to share here.
Upon leaving the museum, we heard jazz playing in the Museum Hill Cafe, located between the Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
We'll leave dining at the Museum Hill Cafe for another day.