We connect visitors of all ages and backgrounds to their creative lives through imaginative art education experiences, including free school tours for more than 6,000 children every year, hosting informative gallery talks and lectures, staging innovative public programs and hosting meaningful, inspiring exhibitions featuring the work of significant regional, national and international artists.
Name(s): Catherine and Robert Theodore
City: Uniontown, Ohio
Occupation(s): Catherine – Textile Artist, Robert – Retired
What made you decide to become a Member of the Akron Art Museum?
We had visited the Museum over the years and were always impressed with the exhibitions curated by the Museum. Our daughter had attended Art Babes with her young son and kept telling us about all the great programs that the Museum provided. The deciding factor to become members occurred when Catherine saw an article that announced a free family membership as part of the Museum’s giving back program. We became members as part of that program and have continued to renew our membership each year since.
How frequently do you visit the Akron Art Museum?
We try to visit at least once a month if not more frequently. We also attend events like Art and Ale, the summer concerts and other special programs that the Museum offers during the year. With Robert’s retirement we plan on visiting more often since he will not be traveling out of town for work.
What benefit of Membership do you appreciate the most and why?
There are multiple Membership benefits that we appreciate. The curator talks present a rich background on the process and reason for the exhibition. The talks also provide for a discussion with the curator which allows for a greater depth of knowledge about the work. We especially like the member previews that allow for a first look at new exhibits. The free parking is a great benefit as it removes the concern about finding a parking spot close to the Museum. Receiving the Museum View magazine allows us to plan when and what we want to see and attend at the Museum.
How has the Akron Art Museum impacted you?
As individuals, we have always been involved in the study and appreciation of the arts. While our children were growing, we also tried to instill in them an appreciation of the arts by exposing them to the arts both locally and while on vacation in different areas of the country. Catherine, as a textile artist, has always been pushing the envelope in her art which has resulted in wonderful discussions between us on the concept of art and how it impacts people. The contemporary art exhibits at the Museum have resulted in our art discussions changing and evolving as the exhibits present art that is considered ‘coloring outside of the lines’.
Are there particular works of art in the collection or current/past exhibitions that are special to you? Which ones and why?
For us it was the Nick Cave exhibition that is special. Catherine had seen the Nick Cave Soundsuit exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Pittsburgh several years ago and was greatly impressed by the work. We had tried to attend other Nick Cave exhibitions over the years in different locations but schedules would not allow this to happen. So, when the Nick Cave exhibition was announced by the Museum, we acquired tickets to the members preview as soon as possible. The exhibition was extraordinary and included more pieces than Catherine had previously seen. Then to be able to witness the performance on the garden plaza was truly a once in a lifetime event.
Why do you feel art is important – for individuals, families, communities?
We definitely feel that art is an important element for both individual and societal development. We also believe that art is a very important element in the development of children and that children should be exposed to art at an early age. Art allows the artist to communicate his or her statement on a specific topic which in turns allows for the starting of a conversation between people viewing the art. Whether or not people agree with the message of the artist, the conversation about the message is the important part of the process as the conversation can lead to building bridges between people of all backgrounds.
Do you have a story or memory that you would like to share about the Akron Art Museum?
There are many memories from visits to the Museum but the one to share involves Director Mark Masuoka and the Jun Kaneko Blurred Lines exhibition. Mark gave a series of curator talks that provided tremendous insight to not only the physical process required to create the art but also insight into the thought process of the artist and what the artist was trying to communicate in each of the pieces of work. Since Mark had actually worked with the artist before coming to Akron, the talks allowed for a depth of insight and knowledge into the artist that one would not normally be able to receive when visiting the Museum. We were impressed that Mark would take the time to provide the talks and be very open in answering any and all questions that were asked by the participants.