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MoFA & the Energy of Its Visitors

Published March 29, 2017
Mikaela Sheldt performs one of her spoken works.

Mikaela Sheldt performs one of her spoken works.

Honest Visions exhibition

Honest Visions exhibition

While three different exhibitions in February and March shared the various galleries of MoFA, in the week right after Spring Break, the curators of “Honest Visions: Artists & Autism” hosted an evening of performance by artists. Then, on the last weekend of the exhibitions, the sponsors of “Cinema Judaica: The War Years” brought museum professional Darcie Fohrman to campus for a closing day lecture to the public followed by a workshop with graduate students and faculty of museum studies.

Organizations supporting “Honest Visions” are dedicated and vigorous, and curators Allison D. Leatzow and Dr. Susan Baldino not only worked with the Autism Institute at the FSU College of Medicine / Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), but also VSA Florida / Very Special Arts, the State Organization on Arts and Disability. An evening of celebration included recitations of original poetry by artists Mathieu Fredrickson and Mikaela Sheldt, and musical performances by Paul McAuliffe and Isiah Taylor. Art therapy graduate student Anthony Woodfuff was a visitor who shared his congratulations, writing to the curators that not only does he appreciate “museum inclusivity and accessibility among traditionally disenfranchised audiences,” but that the exhibition’s goal “of honestly depicting the authenticity, truth, sincerity” of each artist was fully realized.

Curators Dr. Susan Baldino and Allison Leatzow with artist Mikaela Sheldt and her paintings.

Curators Dr. Susan Baldino and Allison Leatzow with artist Mikaela Sheldt and her paintings.

“Cinema Judaica: The War Years 1939-1949” was the context for a lecture on “exhibiting the Holocaust” by the designer of “Daniel’s Story” that started as a temporary exhibition in 1993 and was so poignant and important to visitors at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, that nearly 25 years later, it has become a permanent exhibition. Museum professional Darcie Fohrman was invited to Tallahassee by a coalition of organizations interested in community education, primarily the Holocaust Education Resource Council, Barbara Goldstein, Executive Director, and the College of Fine Arts, Dean Peter Weishar, through the organizational efforts of Dr. Lauren Weingarden (Art History).

Visiting lecturer Darcie Fohrman consults with museums of all types to create multidisciplinary, interactive exhibitions such as: “Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story” in Washington, DC; “Revealing Bodies” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco; “QUESTION” at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University; and “COURAGE: The Carolina Story That Changed America” at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina, which received the American Association of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Award. On Monday following the public lecture, graduate students of the Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites program and faculty from a number of museum studies programs at Florida State participated in a workshop that created animated discussions wonderfully moderated by Ms. Fohrman.