You don’t have to travel the world to see original pieces of artwork from multiple different countries; thanks to the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures, you can do that right here in Fort Collins.
The museum opened a new gallery titled “A to Z, Global Folk Art” on July 1 that celebrates community, culture and creativity. The gallery topics are chosen by the museum’s Board of Directors, and this specific one was organized by board member Heidi Cross.
“We are excited to showcase a variety of eclectic art from local cultures around the world,” Cross said in a press release for the gallery. “Unlike items that are mass produced, folk art conveys the personality of the craftsperson as well as the artist’s culture and community. It is the art of the everyday by people with a creative spirit.”
LaVon Blaesi, director of the museum, is excited for the event and passionate about sharing the knowledge of folk art with the community.
“Folk art is handmade from natural materials and is colorful and unique,” Blaesi said. “At the same time, it’s so much more than that.”
Folk art, as defined by the museum, expresses a cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. It’s rooted in traditions that come from community and culture and normally has some useful or decorative purpose.
To gather the art, the museum puts out a call to community members, who volunteer to lend their art to the museum for a few months. In this particular gallery, there is art from around 30 different community members.
“It’s really a community museum,” Blaesi said. “The museum is run by community members and volunteers. It’s a real jewel to have this museum.”
Among the items gathered, they have a Nkisi Nkondi, a spirit hunter power figure from the Congo Basin of Central Africa, various purses and pouches that make individual statements about the artist and the person it was named for, and a Hippo Drum from Botswana in the interactive children’s section. In addition to these, the gallery has a couple of other hidden treasures sprinkled throughout the exhibit.
“My favorite part of the exhibit is how everything here came from all over the world,” said Erica Sisneros, one of the volunteers helping set up the exhibit.
To put the exhibit together, the volunteers and coordinators research the background of the donated items, which is then shared with the public through information cards, in order to allow themselves and the viewers of the gallery to have a greater appreciation for the art.
“It’s been fun putting the gallery together,” Blaesi said. “It’s been a great experience. It’s very interesting and I felt like I’ve learned a lot about folk art.”
The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures is located on 200 W Mountain Ave, and the gallery will be open from July 1 to October 21. On Tuesday, July 4 and Friday, July 7, during the gallery walk that evening, the gallery is free. Otherwise, the admission fee is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and $1 for children.
Collegian Reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @chapin_jules.