With the interest in visionary art rising, the AVAM opens at a good time. It will be this country's first major museum devoted to visionary art, and was designated as the official national museum for such art by Congressional resolution in 1992.
The museum has been Rebecca Hoffberger's dream for a decade or more, and she has worked untiringly to raise the $7 million required to build it.
Although the museum - a main building and sculpture barn - has a permanent collection, Hoffberger plans to stage large, long-term temporary exhibitions; exhibits in which some of the -- permanent collection will be shown from time to time.
Maizels hails this idea. "It seems like it's going to be a revolutionary museum. Not one permanent collection as in Lausanne, but huge blockbusting exhibitions lasting almost a year. It's really quite fascinating."
Petullo also welcomes a museum. "There's no place to show all this stuff," he says. As of Friday, there will be.
Where: 800 Key Highway
When: Opens to the public Nov. 14. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, $3 for people in groups of 10 or more.
Call: (410) 244-1900
When the American Visionart Art Museum opens Friday, more tha 400 pieces of artwork will be displayed in its inaugural exhibit, "The Tree of Life," which runs through Sept. 2, 1996.
At least 10 more shows have been proposed to follow that, each of which would last at least six months.
Among the exhibits under consideration.
* "The Wind in My Hair." This show about speed and flight looks at man's desire to go faster and higher. It will range from Leonardo's designs for a one-man flying machine to hand-embellished art cars. Planned to open in the fall of 1996.
* "The End Is Near: Apocalyptic and Post-Millennium Visions of Century 21." A show about the obsession of some visionaries with the apocalypse and the millennium.
* "Lifestyles of the Down and Out: The Housing, Dress and Street Survival Techniques of the Imaginative." Handmade clothes, dwellings and personal environments of the mentally ill, the homeless and the poor.
* "Golden Blessings of Old Age." Examples of the onset of creativity in old age.
* "Soldiers' Artistic Response to War." Works that range from the comical and clever to the angry and despairing, and reflect how people at war cope.
* "Out of the Mouths of Babes/Through the Eyes of Children." The art and written words of children, including the work of autistic children and the prophetic art of children with terminal illnesses.
* "History of Addiction: Colonial America Through Today." An exhibit intended to view drug use and abuse in a historical context, to show what an addictive race human beings are.
* "Dear Diary: The Illustrated and Written Word." Focuses on the extensive written works of such visionaries as Henry Darger (whose saga, "The Realms of the Unreal," ran to 15,000 pages) and Adolf Wolfli (whose autobiographical epic ran to 45 volumes and 25,000 pages).
* "Angels & Other Aliens." A show on those artists who have imagined alien worlds and fantastic beings -- elves, angels, devils, imps, guardians and others.
* "Error & Eros: Love Profane and Divine." An examination of love and romance in visionary art, from the erotica of Friedrich Schroeder-Sonnenstein to the doll children of Morton Barlett.