Upcoming Exhibitions

 


Apron Strings: Ties to the Past

May 19 – August 11, 2018

Although taken for granted by many social and art historians, the apron is the subject of a fascinating reevaluation in this exhibition. Apron Strings: Ties to the Past features fifty-one vintage and contemporary examples that review the apron’s role as an emotionally charged vehicle for expression with a rich and varied craft history that is still viable today.

Using aprons dating from the late 1930s through the present, the exhibition chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work. It also surveys the wide range of design and craft techniques apron-makers have used to express themselves, while still working within creative venues traditionally available to women. Today, artists continue using aprons to explore cultural myths and realities as well as their individual experiences with American domesticity.

Apron Strings is organized into several thematic groups addressing design, historical context, use, and cultural message. The exhibition serves as an excellent tool to bring together diverse parts of the community through shared experiences with, and memories of, a common, everyday textile.

A program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.



Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints

September 1 – December 15, 2018

Batik is a Javanese word that refers to a traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing, in which a pattern is made on both sides of cotton fabric with warm liquid wax applied by a tjanting, a small brass cup with a spout. After the wax cools and solidifies, the cloth is dyed with a primary color and the wax is then removed, revealing the pattern where the wax had once been.

The success of the wax prints on the African scene is driven by many factors, such as the culture, taste, and desires of the African consumers. Clothing in Africa serves an important means of communication, sending secret messages and retelling local proverbs. Clothing also depicts a person’s social status and position, political convictions, ambition, marital status, ethnicity, age, sex, and group affiliations. The names and stories associated with the fabrics differ from country to country and region to region. One fabric may have different names in different countries, depending on the symbolism that the consumer can read in the fabric.

The history of the African wax print is a history paved along colonial trade routes and globalization in the post-colonial era. Though not originally African, these textiles have become ingrained in African culture and society, and loved and identified as their own.

A program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.