As we begin 2014, I am struck by the notion that for Joslyn Art Museum, 2013 was really our “new year.” Historical milestones such as the return to free admission, building rejuvenations from glass to grout, roof to foundation, and announcements of new spaces and programs kept us invigorated and busy.
There is no doubt that Joslyn’s return to free admission in May 2013 was one of the most significant events in Omaha’s arts and cultural life in years. The outpouring of positive feedback has been quite wonderful, and our attendance statistics do not fail to wow when compared to the same periods in 2012. The summer months are a busy time of year for Joslyn. Our attendance in summer 2013 was up 155% during the week, up 25% on Saturdays, and up 266% on Sundays. Attendance remained up in fall 2013 (37% during the week, 18% on Saturdays, and 48% on Sundays). Out of state tourism was up too . . . 19% of our visitors last summer were not from Nebraska, and in the non-summer months, almost 9% were from outside of Nebraska (compared to 14% and 8% respectively in 2012).
So much of what we announced just months ago as “upcoming,” is now taking shape. Joslyn now proudly welcomes the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. There will be much to marvel at coming from these extraordinarily talented teen artists and their mentors this year and beyond. An entrance to an enticing new space — the Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery — now beckons in the Scott Pavilion. The debut show, featuring iROZEALb (Iona Rozeal Brown), opens February 8. And the ancient Greek tide is coming in, as we look to the opening of Poseidon and the Sea
in February. It is shaping up to be a marvelous exhibition of Mediterranean wonders. Summer will celebrate the beauty of America’s first national park with Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran
. The year concludes with Andy Warhol in Living Color,
a Joslyn-organized exhibition drawn from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation. Like Poseidon and the Sea,
this is a ticketed exhibition that Joslyn members will see for free. I encourage everyone to support the Museum through membership.
The permanent collection galleries of modern and contemporary art in the Pavilion will be closed in early 2014 for reinstallation. The reopening in late March will feature some important favorites plus works that have not been seen in a while and some wonderful new acquisitions. Also the Mind’s Eye Gallery is temporarily closed to make way for construction of a new center devoted to interactive art experiences for families. With the opening this fall will come many new things to experience at Joslyn.
See you in the galleries!
Jack Becker, Ph.D.
Executive Director & CEO