For the very first time, the Harn Museum of Art is presenting a staff-curated exhibition of works from the photography collection. Thirty-three staff members volunteered to select a favorite work from the collection and write about it from their own perspective. In all, thirty-eight photographs (some chose two) with individual texts will be exhibited together. This exciting group-curation aligns with a major component of the Harn’s strategic plan: to be inclusive, diverse and representative of the University of Florida and greater Gainesville community it serves, and not least, the people who work at the Harn.
A museum is more than the artwork on the walls. It is a place of staff ideas and collaborations. We are a passionate collective from a variety of backgrounds, age-groups and lifestyles. What Windows and Mirrors provides is a window through which we get to know one another differently, and to be seen, understood and valued a little bit better. By removing the standard one-point perspective (usually a curator’s), and offering an expansive response to the question, “who is best equipped to write about art?,” the exhibition mirrors the meaningful thoughts and feelings residing within the people who are the engine of the Harn Museum. This is a profoundly creative act for staff to be willing to share their thoughts with the public.
Art occupies a unique space in all our lives. It rouses memories and curiosities about people, places, histories, livelihoods, spiritual longings, injustices, travel and more. With Windows and Mirrors, the staff makes these enquiries visible and resonant. The result is a fascinating, revealing survey of the Harn’s awesome workforce, many of whom are also artists, musicians, scholars, activists, mothers/fathers, partners, animal lovers and seekers. You will experience images and texts that are moving, honest, with less jargon, sometimes critical, but most importantly, a perfect declaration of who art is for. Each and every one of us.
– Carol McCusker, Ph.D.