BRATTLEBORO — A free, public celebration of spring exhibits at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is set for this weekend.
Many of the exhibiting artists and curators will be in attendance Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the museum’s galleries and under a tent on the front lawn of the museum at historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and routes 119 and 142.
Refreshments will be served outdoors, and two new exhibits, “Scott Boyd: Endangered Alphabets” and “Delita Martin: Between Worlds,” will be on view, in addition to the five exhibits that opened in March. All are welcome to attend. Visitors will be required to wear masks and maintain appropriate social distance inside the museum. State-mandated capacity limits will be in effect.
“Because of COVID, we were unable to have a proper opening reception for our spring exhibits,” museum director Danny Lichtenfeld said. “Now that the weather is nicer and we can spill outdoors, we’re looking forward to celebrating the artists and curators whose work we have the honor of sharing with our community this spring.”
“Scott Boyd: Endangered Alphabets” is a 10-foot-high obelisk that will be on view in the Sculpture Garden from May through November. Scott Boyd inscribed characters, symbols and scripts drawn from the writing systems of endangered languages into the four sides of the obelisk.
According to the museum’s chief curator Mara Williams, “While most obelisks are reverential monuments commemorating the dead and honoring great leaders, Scott Boyd’s stands for what we are about to lose—a pre-monument, if you will. As writing systems and whole languages vanish, cultural diversity narrows. Unique expressions of community, of humanity, are lost.”
Boyd initially became interested in endangered alphabets when he attended a presentation by Tim Brookes, the founder of the Endangered Alphabets Project, a Vermont nonprofit organization that supports endangered, minority and indigenous cultures throughout the world by preserving their writing systems. Brookes helped Boyd to research the alphabets on the obelisk, which include Nüshu, Tifinagh, the Samaritan alphabet and the Cherokee syllabary.
“Due to shifting tides in politics, migration, armed conflict, and developmental pressures, many of these inscribed writing systems and languages are on the verge of disappearing,” Boyd wrote in a statement accompanying the exhibit. “Some are spoken or written by as few as five people.”
Boyd lives in Stowe.
“Delita Martin: Between Worlds” is a year-long installation in the seven large window bays extending across the front and north side of the museum.
“In her colorful prints created from original mixed media work, Martin reimagines the identities and roles of Black women in the context of collective Black culture and African history,” said museum exhibitions manager Sarah Freeman. “Using symbols and patterns as a visual language, she redefines notions of beauty, strength, and connection to sacred space, and offers new narratives for women who have been historically marginalized.”
A former member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Delita Martin currently works full-time in her studio, Black Box Press, in Huffman, Texas.
Other spring exhibits include “All Flowers Keep the Light,” a group exhibition exploring the use of flowers as spiritual and emotional touchstones; “Jennifer Mack-Watkins: Children of the Sun,” which celebrates positive representation of African American children and was inspired in part by the life of Vermont storyteller Daisy Turner; “Kenny Rivero: Palm Oil, Rum, Honey, Yellow Flowers,” a collection of the artist’s autobiographical drawings with themes including masculinity, love, depression, sexuality, Afro-Caribbean faith, Anglo-Caribbean sensibilities, and Afro-Futurism; “Adria Arch: On Reflection,” a site-specific kinetic installation in the museum’s Mary Sommer Room; and the 10th anniversary edition of Glasstastic (stylized in all caps), the museum’s popular biennial collaboration between K-6 students and New England glass artists.
The museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.