A Message from our Director: Wishing You Beautiful New Horizons in 2022
The winter solstice is behind us. The days are once again lengthening, Yet we all experienced a second holiday season of pandemic. I think we’re all feeling pretty worn down by the ways we’ve had to limit our lives over the last 21 months.
Last week, before cleaning up my desk and deciding which projects to work on from home over the holiday break, I took a walk through the galleries looking for an image to carry me into the new year.
It was Arthur Bowen Davies who caught my eye today. He’s an idiosyncratic artist to be sure. Unconventional compositions and highly personal poetic symbolism. I love his painting Horizons, because it presents to us an intriguing, almost magical view of treetops, clouds, and distant mountains. The trees are rich, jewel-toned greens and the horizon is smudged with brilliant amethyst and azure, with hints of sapphire. Usually, trees framing a composition frame some thing that we can project ourselves into—a lovely landscape with a winding road or stream, a farm or cottage nestled in the folds of a hill, or simply the majesty of nature. Here, Davies presents for us the expanse. We are clearly in a beautiful place, looking out at the infinite.
So, Davie’s Horizons (which is interestingly a plural and not singular) for me feels a bit like this cusp of 2022. We don’t know what’s ahead. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves over the last months, and we’ve probably discovered things we’d like to change. Maybe we’ve taken a new path. Maybe we feel like we’ve been struggling up a mountain and we don’t know what’s on the other side. We may have been sick, had family who were sick, or lost loved ones. I know some of you have been sick and recovered and wonder if you’ll ever feel like the same person again. This weighs on all of us differently. Davies reminds me that there is as much hope and discovery in front of us as there is an effort behind us. There is beauty, and there is a possibility. Art does this for us—it provides new ways of looking at the world. It invites us into conversations about life. Sometimes it gets under our skin and provokes us (even makes us angry). Sometimes it puzzles us. Sometimes it teaches us. Sometimes it simply delights us.
I am daily thankful that my career has allowed me to help connect people with art experiences. And so, I will go into the coming year recommitted to the work of museums and a belief in the power of artists, who add beauty, meaning, and reflection to our lives.
And here, I’ll shamelessly add a plug for the museum’s annual fund—if you are able to support our work, you can help us to ensure our 90-year legacy of free admission continues. You may make a contribution through our online portal, or telephone the museum at 301-739-5727 to make a gift.
And, my New Year’s promise to you is that regardless of what 2022 brings, you can count on the museum. We have a diverse and fabulous exhibition schedule ahead of us. We host the annual Cumberland Valley Artists & Photographers Exhibition from February 19 to April 24, and we follow that with a thoughtful exhibition exploring local history and creativity focused on the emblematic power of the discovery of the log cabin at 417 Jonathan Street. We also have a dazzling array of objects visiting next summer in Allure of the Near East: Treasures from the Huntington Museum of Art, from beautifully glazed ceramics, to intricate metalwork, the exhibition showcases the artistry imparted to utilitarian objects in the Islamic world.
I hope that you’re able to visit the museum soon, and you find something that helps you see the world a little differently, even if only for the length of your visit.
With best wishes for the holidays and great hopes for health and harmony in 2022,