Director's Message

We have been absolutely delighted at the reception Wild Spaces, Open Seasons has received in Omaha. Joslyn is one of the exhibition's four organizing museums, and visitors are very engaged with the theme and works on view. Asked to share their favorite outdoor adventure in the exhibition comment book, people have reflected on fishing in an Idaho mountain stream, kayaking on the Niobrara River, hiking in the Cascades, and hunting in the Sandhills; encountering wildlife from big horn sheep to rattlesnakes; and enjoying special moments such as a family trip to Yellowstone and a marriage proposal in Rocky Mountain National Park. We even had a gentleman leave a photograph of himself holding a large fish (written on the back: "Platte River, July
2015 . . . blue catfish, 40 lbs 11 oz, night crawler").

All five European galleries closed in February for a complete overhaul, and I hope you will join us at the grand reopening on May 20. It will be worth the wait! In other collection news, Joslyn has debuted a new publication: Travels in North America, 1832–1834: A Concise Edition of the Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied. This book brings the remarkable narrative of Maximilian's Journals, originally published by the Museum as a three-volume set, to a handsome single volume. We hope it captivates new audiences, who will continue to find inspiration in the landscapes and peoples that drew Maximilian and Bodmer to the American West nearly two centuries ago.

In June, Joslyn opens the stunning exhibition Bijoux Parisiens: French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris. The first ever exhibition devoted to jewelry at Joslyn, Bijoux Parisiens is an exploration of French jewelry, fashion, and history and a showcase of stunning gems transformed into wearable art. A highlight of opening weekend is the Joslyn Art Museum Association's annual Gala on Saturday, June 3. This formal event features exhibition viewing and a French dining experience with tented, outdoor seating. Most importantly, this event raises funds for the Museum and its education programs. Your support is greatly appreciated. Click here to make your reservations today.

Our budget at the Museum depends upon funds raised by events such as the Gala, as well as from membership dollars, annual gifts from corporations and individual donors, and grants from foundations and agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). For 52 years, the NEA's funding and support has given Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts. No other arts funder — public or private — sends funds to every congressional district in every state and to all the U.S. territories. Recently, NEA grants were received by Joslyn in support of the 2013 Mind's Eye Gallery exhibition of work by children's book illustrator Dan Yaccarino and last year's Joslyn-organized exhibition Sheila Hicks: Material Voices. Moreover, Joslyn receives annual support from the Nebraska Arts Council, which receives money from the NEA to distribute statewide. The current Wild Spaces, Open Seasons exhibition and its national tour are made possible by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, comprising 26 members including the chairs of the NEA and NEH. The NEH also awarded a substantial grant in 2006 for the completion of the translation, editing, and publication of the three-volume edition of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and approximately 35,000 museums of all types.
Grants from these agencies are important, not only for the funds they provide, but also because they are so highly respected, giving arts organizations the opportunity to leverage them for larger private gifts. As you are likely aware, the President's FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the NEA, NEH, and IMLS. The budget request is a first step in a very long budget process. We are keeping on top of developments and will share action steps for adding your voice to those, including Joslyn Art Museum, who are calling for the preservation of these vital American arts funders. Learn more at Association of Art Museum Directors, American Alliance of Museums, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Thank you, and see you in the galleries!

Jack Becker, Ph.D.
Executive Director & CEO