Traveling exhibit at Springfield Art Museum focuses on healing and community


A new exhibit opens Saturday, April 9 at the Springfield Art Museum.

Yoko Ono: repair patch will be at the museum until July 10.

Sarah Buhr, art curator at the Springfield Art Museum, said the artist wanted people to focus on repairing with wisdom and love during the exhibition.

“So that’s the concept of the show and really the idea of ​​joint mending: mending together as an act of healing and as something that, you know, has a broader reach if we do it together.”

Yoko Ono, a peace activist for decades, conceptualized Mend Piece in 1966. The show is based on the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, through which artists repair ceramics with gold, Buhr said.

“You highlight the breaks, but you can still use the piece,” she said. “But here, we use very mundane materials. Instead of gold, it can be anything, and then create something new out of what’s broken.”

Mend Piece is a traveling exhibition of the American Federation of Arts, to which the Springfield Art Museum reserved one of its first exhibitions in 1928.

In fall 2019, Buhr received an email stating that the show was available to travel.

This exhibit is unusual in that museums are given a list of instructions – they then have to create and acquire the parts of the exhibit themselves.

Since 2019, the Springfield Art Museum has been planning, gathering supplies, and having tables and shelves built by local artisans.

“We had very explicit instructions on the size of the table and shelves, so we found local carpenters to build them,” Buhr said.

Tables and shelves had to be a certain size and color. Everything is white, so there are no distractions.

And museum staff started buying glue, tape, scissors and string, as well as ceramic cups and saucers, which they then had to break.

“And so it was its own kind of fun activity, and we opened it up to all of our staff and kind of experimented with the best way to break porcelain, which turns out for us he was using a hammer and bucket and wore goggles,” Buhr said.

She says it was very cathartic and allowed her to vent her frustrations about what was going on in the world.

Those who come for the exhibition are responsible for “fixing” the broken pieces of tableware. They are not required to assemble the parts in their original form.

Additional educational space includes hands-on activities.

Continuing with the theme of healing, the museum partnered with Burrell Behavioral Health for “Be Well Experience: Brain Health and Creative Expression” on April 14 and June 8 at 6:00 p.m.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra will present the John Cage Symphony Performance on April 16 at 5:00 p.m.

Other events include a Kintsugi workshop and a Fassnight Creek cleanup and “Fix-It Fair”.

Buhr hopes the exhibit will bring some form of healing to those who experience it.

The exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and sponsorships from the Melinda J. McDaniel Charitable Trust and Howard C. and Nadia T. Cavner.


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