Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry In America
Tamryn McDermott, Traveling Exhibition Manager
National Basketry Organization
Jo Stealey, Curator
Professor of Art, head of the Fiber program and the Middlebush Chair for Arts & Humanities at the University of Missouri
Kristin Schwain, Curator
Associate Professor of American Art at the University of Missouri
RRR:BIA is the result of a remarkable partnership between the National Basketry Organization (NBO) and the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology, with special assistance from MU’s Departments of Art, Art Education, and Art History and Archaeology.
Special thanks to National Basketry Organization, its board, and its members for their unflinching support. The project began when Josephine Stealey, then chair of the Exhibitions Committee, and Lois Russell, then president, casually considered a traveling show that would highlight American basketry. Their concept became a reality because of the many institutions and organizations that enthusiastically embraced the idea and provided financial support: the Windgate Foundation; Center for Craft Creativity and Design; the National Basketry Organization; and the University of Missouri. Individual “angels” also contributed donations: Polly Allen, Lisa Crane, Emily Dvorin, Mary Anne Fray, Nancy G. Koenigsberg, Elizabeth Rowland, and Lois Russell. We thank, too, the museums and galleries that agreed to host the show: Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri (Columbia, Missouri); 108 Contemporary (Tulsa, Oklahoma); Lauren Rogers Museum of Art (Laurel, Mississippi); Whatcom Museum (Bellingham, Washington); Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (Houston, Texas); Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, Massachusetts); and The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Florida).
The exhibit would not have come to fruition without the generous support of the University of Missouri’s Museum of Art and Archaeology. Its director, Alec Barker, provided advice, guidance and wisdom at every stage of the process. Jeffrey Wilcox, then registrar and curator of collections; Barbara Smith, chief preparator, and her assistant, Matt Smith; Alisa Carlson, Associate Curator of European and American Art; Cathy Callaway, educator; and Lisa Higgins, Director, of the Missouri Folk Arts Program, kindly (and patiently!) contributed their expertise along the way. The remarkable administrative team in the Art Department, namely Ferrie Craighead, Marcia Rackley, and Brenda Warren, provided the critical logistical support that makes projects of this magnitude possible.
The management of this expansive enterprise, which includes a physical exhibition, a scholarly catalog, an interactive website, an iCatalog, and educational materials, would not have been possible without our stellar team of graduate students — many of which have long since graduated! Our admiration extends to Rachel Navarro, assistant curator; Patti Shanks, research and communications; Aron Fischer, administrative assistant; Danielle Langdon, website designer; Morgan Manning, iCatalog designer; Chris Morrey, creator of educational and feedback fixtures; sand Stefanie Gerber Darr and Tamryn McDermott, traveling exhibition coordinators.
We have been fortunate that so many of our colleagues at the University of Missouri have embraced the project and contributed their time and expertise. A very special thanks to our photographers, Joe Johnson and Sam Surgener, whose expert eyes and technical acumen resulted in outstanding images for the catalog and promotional materials. Jean Brueggenjohann led an undergraduate design team that branded the exhibition and designed its prospectus: Zoe Ballam, Jacob Brcic, Danielle Fiesta, Catie Hoemann, Whitney Lockhart, Kristen Karpowicz, Emmy Russell, Lili Sielert and Danielle Yuede. Finally, Kathy Unrath and her art education graduate students developed museum education materials to accompany the show. Thank you Mike Anthony, Shirley Boudreaux, Abi Creech, Kristin Gantz, Lauren Holland, Michelle Livek, Kari Lomax, Amy Ruopp, Jon Sheltmire, Amy Tuchschmidt, and Danielle Vogel. Finally, Nancy Alexander, Curator of Visual Resources in Department of Art History and Archaeology, provided much needed insight in the digital world of images and databases.
To say this project has been collaborative is an understatement; it could only have been realized with the vision and tenacity of everyone, particularly the graduate students who enrolled in our Museum Studies courses at MU. The exhibition served as the subject of three separate classes that included students from the departments of anthropology, art, art education, art history and archaeology, classics, and history (among others). The first group developed the exhibition’s focus and structure; the second focused on the armature of the iCatalog; and the third focused on the educational elements of the exhibition in multiple media. Their research, writing, and innovative ideas have enriched every aspect of this exhibition, and their voices can be heard throughout it. These students include: Mike Anthony, Kyle Beder, Jennifer Bennett, Leah Bowring, Shirley Boudreaux, Lorinda Bradley, Carina Carbone, Beth Collins, Jenna Covington. Aron Fischer, Julian Foley, Marni Gable, Kaitlyn Garbarino, Billy George, Laura Greeley, Kaitlin Grimes, Gretta Hempelmann, Devyn Hunter, Linda Ingalls, Kalina Irving, Nikos Karabetsos, Kenneth Kircher, Joshua Maier, Kelsey Frady Malone, Morgan Manning, Jeffrey Markworth, Katherine Mascari, Tamryn McDermott, Caleb McMurray, Margaret Milanick, Rachel Navarro, Zachary Nutt, Anthony Pierucci, Rebecca Pursley, Brittany Rancour, Mary Sandbothe, Ekaterina Shevchenko, and Gretchen Stricker.