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  • Spring Brings Samurai Spirit, Student Art, Speakers and Socials to Worcester Art Museum

    (WORCESTER, Mass., February 25, 2003) - The spring slate of exhibitions at the Worcester Art Museum offers a cultural showcase of art, from Japanese prints and armor to English color prints and diverse paintings and sculpture by contemporary artists influenced by their ethnic heritage.

    Immerse yourself in the lore of Japan's greatest warriors in Samurai Spirit, a major spring exhibition opening April 4. Consider how cultures clash in the art of Ambreen Butt, a Muslim woman from Pakistan who now lives in Boston. Enjoy the characters, scenes and stories of Great Britain in a survey of English Color Prints. Explore issues of mortality, healing and rebirth in artist Richard Yarde's interpretation of an African-American healing ritual.

    Gallery tours and talks, lectures and performances, social gatherings and studio classes make the Museum a fun, dynamic destination to study and appreciate art.


    The Harlem Renaissance and Its Legacy
    Jan. 18-April 13
    Harlem in the 1920s and '30s exploded with creative genius in literature, visual arts, theatre, music, and dance. In this vibrant environment, artists experimented with themes of everyday life, New York City, Africa, religion and abstraction. This exhibition celebrates the artistic triumph of African Americans during Harlem Renaissance and the decades that followed with paintings, sculptures and illustrated books by Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Beauford Delaney and others. This exhibition is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Supported by the Suzanne H. Arnold Foundation. Additional generous support provided by the Alturas Foundation, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and 90.9 WBUR.

    Ambreen Butt: I Must Utter What Comes to My Lips
    March 1-May 11
    Cultural tensions between her Middle-Eastern, Muslim traditions and contemporary American lifestyle infuse the art of Ambreen Butt. A native of Pakistan who now lives in Boston, Butt incorporates the rigorous discipline of Indian miniature painting within minimalist-inspired fields of hairline stripes or dreamlike expanses. While her subject matter is extremely personal, and most often self-portraits, she intentionally wrestles with broader issues of gender, independence and human relationships. This solo exhibition marks the premiere of a series of paintings on Wasli, a traditional handmade paper. This project is supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund and a grant from the Artist's Resource Trust, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The media sponsor is Worcester Magazine. Framing by Boston Frame.

    Samurai Spirit
    April 4-June 22
    Discover the heroic exploits and unique lifestyle of these legendary Japanese warriors in a colorful exhibition of woodblock prints, screens, scrolls, tea ware, arms and armor. For more than 1,000 years, samurai were considered the finest expression of Japanese character. Captivating prints and relics from the battlefield recount stories of bravery and honor. Images of quiet reflection and objects from the tea ceremony reveal the sensitive and spiritual side of the disciplined warriors, which was necessary for maintaining loyalty, piety, dignity and balance of life. This exhibition is sponsored by UnumProvident Corporation, The Blakemore Foundation, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Additional generous support provided by 90.9 WBUR.

    Adult Student Exhibition
    April 8-May 18
    View works in all media created by students enrolled in the winter session of adult art classes at the Worcester Art Museum. Free. An opening reception will be held at the Adult Art Classes Open House on Thursday, April 17 from 5:30-7 p.m.

    Bill Viola: Union
    Long-term installation opens April 26
    See this important contemporary art acquisition in a unique context: amidst the figurative sculptures and frescoes of the Worcester Art Museum's Medieval Gallery. A pioneer in video art since the 1970s, Viola frequently reflects on his deep engagement with art and spirituality in his work. Inspired by the heightened emotional realism of late Medieval and early Renaissance art, Union (2000) is composed of two flat display monitors hanging side by side like framed paintings which depict a nude female and male struggling, in slow motion, upward in unison. The installation opens in conjunction with the Boston Cyberarts Festival, an international celebration of artists working in new technologies, April 26-May 11.

    English Color Prints
    May 17-Aug. 10
    While the artists may be unfamiliar, the subjects of these prints are quintessentially English and include royalty, castles, knights, verdant landscapes, teeming hedgerows and Shakespearean tragedies. Drawn primarily from the Worcester Art Museum's permanent collection, this exhibition traces three centuries of achievements in English printmaking techniques. Among the artists represented are Aubrey Beardsley, Stanley William Hayter, David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin.

    Sweet Sixteen: Art All-State Alumni Exhibition
    May 29-June 13
    Art All-State, an intensive two-day art-making experience for talented high school students from around Massachusetts, celebrates its 16th anniversary with an alumni exhibition of postcard art. With this year's theme “Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed,” the call went out to the over 2,000 alumni of Art All-State to send Worcester Art Museum their best “kiss” postcard. Alumni were given free reign to express their current art persona, with the only stipulation that the finished product be deliverable by the US Postal Service. Free.

    Richard Yarde: Ringshout
    June 7-Sept. 21
    The premiere of a new installation by this renowned New England artist includes several of his signature large-scale watercolors encircling an ambitious sculptural element. Yarde creates work influenced by memories, dreams and personal experience addressing issues of mortality, vulnerability, healing and rebirth. “Ringshout” takes its name and inspiration from an African American healing ritual performed during the slave era. The Contemporary Program is sponsored by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund. The media sponsor is Worcester Magazine.


    Samurai Spirit Opening Celebration
    Thursday, April 3 (5-9 p.m.)
    The Worcester Art Museum celebrates the opening of its spring exhibition, Samurai Spirit, with a Cherry Blossom Festival. The national flower of Japan, the cherry blossom heralds the arrival of spring with its late-March/early-April arrival. The transient blossom, which sheds its petals at its peak, has long been an expression for the samurai way of life. Explore the heroic exploits of the samurai warriors and enjoy Asian-inspired entertainment, light hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. Free with Museum admission: $8 adults, $6 students/seniors with ID, free for youth ages 17 and under, and free for Museum members. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Lecture-Excavating Our Past: A History of the AIA
    Sunday, April 6 (2 p.m.)
    Editor of a recently published retrospective of the Archaeological Institute of America, Susan Hueck Allen presents a slide-illustrated lecture examining the organization's founders and practitioners, and the times that shaped them. Allen is a lecturer in archaeology at Smith College and visiting scholar in classics at Brown University. An informal reception will immediately follow, and books will be available for purchase. Free. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Adult Class Program Open House/Student Exhibition Reception
    Thursday, April 10 (5:30-7 p.m.)
    If you've been toying with the idea of taking an art class, you won't want to miss this Open House. Here is the opportunity to check out the studios at the Worcester Art Museum, meet the instructors and get your questions answered. View the Adult Student Exhibition to admire the creative accomplishments of people like you who have taken classes at the Worcester Art Museum. No cost and no obligation. Plus, drop by the Open House, and get free admission into the Museum's galleries. Light refreshments offered. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Samurai Spirit Gallery Talk: “Always on the Battlefield!”
    Thursday, April 10 (6 p.m.)
    Curator of Asian Art Dr. Louise E. Virgin and Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, curator at Higgins Armory Museum, discuss the art and armor in the galleries of Samurai Spirit, a Worcester Art Museum exhibition. Discover what it was like to live and die as an honorable samurai. Free with Museum admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students with ID, free for ages 17 and under and free for members. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406.

    Young Friends Spring Fling
    Saturday, April 12 (7:30 p.m.)
    Spring fever will be contagious at this party, featuring Entrain as the headlining musical act, a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres, hosted by the Young Friends of the Worcester Art Museum. Tickets are $30, $20 Members. Call (508) 799-4406 ext. 3122. The Young Friends of the Worcester Art Museum is a category of membership geared toward people in their 20s and 30s who enjoy art and socializing. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester.

    God's Trombones
    Sunday, April 13 (3 p.m.)
    Location: Christ Tabernacle Church, 1189 Main St., Worcester
    The Atlantic Union Choir, under the direction of renowned musicologist Horace Boyer, along with community members will perform God's Trombones, in conjunction with the Worcester Art Museum exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Its Legacy. God's Trombones is a musical compilation of seven poems written in 1927 by James Weldon Johnson, a Harlem Renaissance poet who was inspired by the art of the classic African-American sermon. Tickets: $12 adults, $5 children 17 and under. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets by calling the Worcester Art Museum at (508) 799-4406 ext. 3007 or get them at Tatnuck Bookseller, 335 Chandler St., Worcester. Sponsored by the Henry Lee Willis Community Center, Inc. and the Worcester Art Museum.

    April Tour of the Month
    Still Life: Origin and Symbolic Significance
    Wednesday, April 16, and Saturday, April 19 (2 p.m.)
    Discover the rich abundance of still life paintings in the Museum's collection with Docent Lisa Reinberg. Trace the history of this genre of painting and the symbolism embedded in the images. Free with Museum admission: $8 adults, $6 students/seniors with ID, free for youth ages 17 and under, and free for Museum members. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Lecture: Buddhism and the Spirituality of the Samurai
    Thursday, April 17 (6:30 p.m.)
    Discover how samurai balanced the brutality of their profession with Zen meditation in a guest lecture with Alexander Vassey, assistant professor of history at Stonehill College. Highly cultivated individuals, samurai used Zen meditation to attain a calm, clear mind and an acceptance of their fate. Cost: $8, $6 members. Call (508) 799-4406 ext. 3007 to register. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester.

    Patriots' Day: Museum Open
    Monday, April 21 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
    The Worcester Art Museum will be open to the public on this holiday Monday.

    April Art Break: Tick Tock
    Tuesday, April 22-Friday, April 25
    Tick Tock, turn back the hands of the clock to explore 50 centuries of art. The Worcester Art Museum offers dozens of hands-on workshops for vacationing schoolchildren ages 3-16. Enroll your child for either a half-day or full day of studio activities and gallery explorations. An extended-day option from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. is also available. Classes fill quickly; register by calling (508) 799-4406, ext. 3129 or 3007, or register online at http://www.worcesterart.org/Education.

    Magical Mystery Tour
    Thursday, May 1 (5:30 p.m.)
    The departure is a given: At 5:30 p.m., meet at the Museum's Salisbury Street entrance. The destination: Now, that's the mystery, with 5,000 years of art awaiting your exploration. Free with Museum admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students with ID, free for youth 17 and under, and free for Museum members. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Samurai Taiko Drumming and Martial Arts Performance
    Sunday, May 4 (1 p.m.)
    Location: Tuckerman Hall, 10 Tuckerman St., Worcester (across from Worcester Art Museum) Multi-instrumentalist and martial artist, Master Chouemon Tsuji, XI, and his troupe perform powerful and skillful samurai-style Taiko drumming. Master Tsuji is a descendent of the great 16th-century Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga. Then, Meik and Dianne Skoss, accomplished martial artists, introduce samurai weapons including swords, spears, and the sickle and chain. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children; Museum admission included. Call (508) 799-4406 ext. 3007. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester.

    Adult Winter/Spring Classes Begin
    Monday, May 5
    From one-day workshops to seven-week sessions, the Worcester Art Museum offers a creative outlet that fits into your schedule. Daytime, evening and weekend classes delve into both the fundamentals and advanced techniques of studio arts, art appreciation and writing. A new class perfect for summer is “Sculpture for the Garden.” Or join Museum Director James A. Welu for his “Masterpiece Series&3148; featuring fascinating stories about some of his favorite works of art. Intensive art institutes are offered for the serious artists, and teachers can find rejuvenation and inspiration in special summer teacher institutes. Browse the class listings and register online at http://www.worcesterart.org/Education or call for the Classes brochure at (508) 799-4406, ext. 3129. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester.

    Lecture: John G. Hanhardt on Bill Viola
    Thursday, May 8 (6:30 p.m.)
    Senior curator of film and media arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, John Hanhardt speaks on the work of pioneering video artist Bill Viola, whose piece “Union” is on display at the Worcester Art Museum. The Museum was the first in New England to acquire work by this important contemporary artist. Hanhardt, who specializes in film and video media, recently co-curated Bill Viola: Going Forth by Day, at the Guggenheim. Free. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406.

    Third Thursday with the Young Friends of WAM
    Thursday, May 15 (5:30-8 p.m.)
    Join the Young Friends of the Worcester Art Museum after work for a tour of the galleries, entertainment, light refreshments and a cash bar. Free for Members, others: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students with ID. Call (508) 799-4406 ext. 3122 for membership information. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. (508) 799-4406.

    Tour of the Month: Islamic Art
    Wednesday, May 14, and Saturday, May 17 (2 p.m.)
    Join Museum Docent Linda Miller for an exploration of the Museum's Islamic art collection. Gain a better understanding of Islamic culture and how ideas and beliefs are reflected in the arts. Free with Museum admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students with ID, free for ages 17 and under, and free for Museum members. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St. Worcester (508) 799-4406.

    Lecture-A Legacy Immortalized: Samurai Imagery in Early Japanese Photographs
    Sunday, May 18 (1 p.m.)
    As the legacy of Japan's warrior class was about to be relegated to the past, it enjoyed a unique revival in photographs produced primarily for Western tourists. In a special guest lecture, Dr. Allen Hockley, associate professor at Dartmouth College, explores the ways in which early photographs reconstructed samurai traditions for a new audience. Cost: $8, $6 members. Call 508.799.4406, x3007 to register. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St. Worcester.

    Art All-State Exhibition & Reception
    Saturday, May 31 (3:30 p.m.)
    View the collaborative art installations created by the 16th class of Art All-State participants. During this intensive weekend program, 140 young artists from high schools around the state join artists/mentors in the Museum's galleries and studios for collaborative art-making projects and explorations of art beyond high school. Refreshments will be served. Free. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406 ext. 3007.

    Lecture-The Rise of the Samurai
    Sunday, June 1 (3 p.m.)
    Location: Higgins Armory Museum, 100 Barber Ave., Worcester
    In this special guest lecture, Dr. W. Wayne Farris, professor of Japanese history at the University of Tennessee, traces the evolution of the samurai through archaeological examples. Farris is author of Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan's Military, 500-1300. The lecture is free with Higgins Armory admission. For information, call the Worcester Art Museum at (508) 799-4406 ext. 3007. Co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America.

    4th Annual Celebration of Worcester Poets
    Saturday, June 7 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
    More than 50 writers and performers from throughout Central Massachusetts celebrate the vibrant poetry of this area in a daylong festival at the Worcester Art Museum. Weather permitting, the festival will be held outdoors in the Museum's Stoddard Garden Court. Rain location: the Museum Café. Free and open to the public. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406. Sponsored in collaboration with the Worcester County Poetry Association.

    Art Book Sale
    Saturday, June 7 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
    Sunday, June 8 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
    Build your collection of art books without breaking your budget at a book sale to benefit the Worcester Art Museum's Library acquisition account. Peruse the volumes of quality art books in the Museum's Renaissance Court. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406.

    Artist Talk and Reception: Richard Yarde
    Thursday, June 12 (6:30 p.m.)
    Renowned New England artist Richard Yarde visits the Worcester Art Museum to talk about his solo exhibition, Ringshout, on view through Sept. 21. A reception for the artist follows. Free. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester (508) 799-4406.

    Adult Summer Art Institutes
    Monday, June 23-Wednesday, July 2
    Designed for serious artists, these art experiences are filled with opportunities to meet other artists, share discoveries and find inspiration. Select weeklong sessions in Photoshop, drawing, painting, and printmaking. Call (508) 799-4406 ext. 3129 for the Classes brochure, or browse and register online at www.worcesterart.org/Education. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester.

    Museum Background

    A cultural jewel of New England, the Worcester Art Museum first opened to the public in 1898. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Its extensive four-season studio arts program enrolls 6,000 adult and youth students each year. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (sponsored by Commerce Bank), and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and full-time college students with current ID, and FREE for Members and all youth 17 and under. Admission is also FREE for everyone on Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.-noon (sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company). The Museum is located at 55 Salisbury St., Worcester, Mass., easily accessible from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), Route 290 and Route 9. Expanded parking is available near entrances on Salisbury, Lancaster and Tuckerman streets. For more information, call (508) 799-4406.