Tuesday, June 15, 2010
On the Hunter Museum of American Art
Audio slideshow interview with Katrina Craven from Philip Hartigan on Vimeo.
This is my first full blog entry after my trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was there to take photos for a travel article that Patty was researching. We were hosted by a superb PR company called Geiger & Associates, who organise press trips to places such as Chattanooga in order to introduce journalists to as much of a particular town as possible in three or four days. For example, on our first full day there, our itinerary was: visit to the Moon Pie factory (a hallowed biscuit/cookie maker); a tour of the aquarium (otters! penguins! more fish than one person could ever eat!); a boat trip up the Tennessee River gorge; a tour of the Delta Queen riverboat; a stroll around the artisans and artists area of Bluff View; dinner; then a walk deep underground in the caves below Lookout Mountain.
I also took the opportunity a few days later to visit Chattanooga's Main Street Arts District, and later I will post some interviews with people I met there. We also went to the Hunter Museum of American Art, where I conducted a short interview with Katrina Craven, the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the museum. I've posted the audio of this 4-minute interview with an accompanying slideshow of images at the top of this post. Apologies for the occasional noise on the audio file.
The Hunter possesses a superb collection of American art from all periods: pre-European, pre-twentieth century, some wonderful mid-twentieth century pieces, and lots of interesting contemporary work. It also has a substantial sculpture collection, which is displayed in and around the museum buildings, and in a nearby sculpture park overlooking the river. The museum and its collections were largely made possible by the donations of generous benefactors, and out of that came a beautiful museum and an indispensable collection of American art. Even an old Socialist like me realises that the art world is sustained by the philanthropy of very rich people. In Chattanooga, the rich are spending their wealth with a keen dedication to the public realm that is not unusual in the USA - not at all - but which is remarkably visible in such a small city. The whole town seems to have been regenerated through culture - not just art, but music and architecture too.
Thanks again to Katrina Craven for giving me a few minutes of her time.
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