Feb 19, 2020 Claire Kim

Visionary art

I recently visited The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MA. The museum’s website defines “visionary art” as “art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.” I felt an incredible sense of excitement and comfort walking through the halls of this institutions– a feeling which I remember was not always the case when I first entered art museums as a young college student– both as viewer and an intern.

This experience encouraged me to seek out the specific aspects which allowed for my particularly fun, personable, educational, and relaxed time in this museum. Below are some thoughts that I jotted down (notes that I will hold dear during my own curatorial practice for NXTHVN and beyond.)

  • The employees (security guards, front desk attendant, gifts shop employees, etc.) all looked like they genuinely were happy to be working at the museum. They were friendly and excited to chat about their thoughts on the work that surrounded them. So much laughter and conversation filled the halls.
  • The descriptions were accessible– both in location and in content. The placards were placed in various heights (seeing children be able to read the quotes as they walked up the stairs- without straining was amazing!) I was never confused by the statements that were on display.
  • There was something for everyone– whether you are an artist, arts enthusiast, or have never been to a museum in your life. The exhibitions and activities that were provided made the space accessible to people with a wide range of art-knowledge.