American Visionary Art Museum

Behind the scenes

May 17, 1998|By Karin Remesch

Mission: Designated by Congress as America's "national museum, repository, and education center for the best in original, self-taught artistry," AVAM studies, collects, preserves and exhibits visionary art -- art produced by individuals, usually without any formal artistic training, who transform dreams, loss, hopes and ideals into powerful works of art. AVAM's seven galleries hold works created by farmers, housewives, mechanics, retired folk, the disabled and the homeless, as well as the occasional neurosurgeon.

Latest accomplishment: "The End Is Near! Vision of Apocalypse, Millennium and Utopia," an artistic exploration of the approaching new millennium and its influence on human imagination, closed Jan. 4. And recently AVAM received approval for a $1.75 million state bond toward a proposed $5 million building expansion, and a tourism award for being a major new attraction to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

On the horizon: AVAM yesterday launched its fourth major exhibition, "Love: Error and Eros." Running through May 30, 1999, and curated by Maggie and John Maizels, the show examines love as one of the most powerful human emotions. Among 205 works by 71 visionary artists are Leonard Knight's 300-feet-in-circumference, hand-stitched "God Is Love" hot-air balloon and Alex Grey's visitor-interactive installation "Mending the Heart Net."

About the AVAM: Attendance: 60,000 annually. Operating budget: $1.4 million. Endowment: $700.000.

Where and when: 800 Key Highway. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 410-244-1900.

Rebecca A. Hoffberger, founder and president of the board of directors: "We've just opened our fourth original mega-exhibition and are also proceeding with the final phase of our expansion plan. And we are proud to have maintained our debt-free status through very hard work."

Members of the board

Nancy Bloom

Darrell Friedman

Ginger Gomprecht

Rebecca A. Hoffberger

LeRoy Hoffberger

Patrick Hughes

Sister Charlotte Kerr

Fred Lazarus

Brenda Brown Lipitz

Roger Lyons

Sandra Magsamen

Howard Pete Rawlings

Ted Rouse

John Schisler

Victor Stone

Mary Sue Welcome

Pub Date: 5/17/98

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