Our announcement on June 30, 2016 to expand the galleries with a new wing dedicated to contemporary craft and the creation of a studio dedicated to glass-blowing and bronze-casting continues the FIA’s 88-year practice of combining looking at art in the galleries and creating it in the studios. We believe that the best way to accomplish our mission to “advance the understanding and appreciation of art for all” is to not only display art but also to provide access to how it is made. In this way, we have blurred the boundaries between fine art and craft, building on cultural traditions that began thousands of years ago, by not drawing a strict line between them. Learning to create art, whether in graphite, paint, bronze or clay, always intensifies one’s appreciation for the accomplishments of masters in the medium. And being able to see in museum galleries great works by masters can be equally inspirational to the artist. Where else can you go to see an ancient ceramic pot and then learn to make one like it yourself?
Our collections span five millennia and include works of art in all media, providing visitors and students with a broad array of techniques, styles, and subject matter to stimulate their imaginations. In our studio teaching we have learned that by providing access to materials, instruction on methods, and exposure to the achievements of others, students ultimately follow their own instincts, some creating functional objects while others create non-functional and conceptual works of art. Over the years, our commitment has deepened as we have expanded our capacities in both the studios and galleries to keep up with growing public demand.
Given the amount of positive attention the announcement to expand has generated from the media, FIA members, and the general public, it is evident that the need for this type of synergy remains relevant, timely, and necessary. I am happy to have this opportunity to thank the many donors to the project and encourage those of you who have not yet given, to please do so. We cannot complete the project without you.
As the project progresses, we will provide you with the updates in a special section of the magazine (pages 15 and 16).