BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will host a free, public celebration of its spring exhibits, with many of the exhibiting artists and curators in attendance, on Saturday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the museum’s galleries and under a tent on the front lawn.
Refreshments will be served outdoors, and two new exhibits, “Scott Boyd: Endangered Alphabets” and “Delita Martin: Between Worlds,” will be on view, in addition to the five exhibits that opened in March.
“Because of COVID, we were unable to have a proper opening reception for our spring exhibits,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld in a news release. “Now that the weather is nicer and we can spill outdoors, we’re looking forward to celebrating the artists and curators whose work we have the honor of sharing with our community this spring.”
“Scott Boyd: Endangered Alphabets,” a 10-foot-high obelisk, will be on view in the BMAC Sculpture Garden from May through November. Boyd inscribed characters, symbols, and scripts drawn from the writing systems of endangered languages into the four sides of the object.
According to BMAC Chief Curator Mara Williams, “While most obelisks are reverential monuments commemorating the dead and honoring great leaders, Scott Boyd’s stands for what we are about to lose — a pre-monument, if you will. As writing systems and whole languages vanish, cultural diversity narrows. Unique expressions of community, of humanity, are lost.”
Boyd initially became interested in endangered alphabets when he attended a presentation by Tim Brookes, the founder of the Endangered Alphabets Project, a Vermont-based nonprofit organization that supports endangered, minority, and indigenous cultures throughout the world by preserving their writing systems.
Brookes helped Boyd to research the alphabets on the obelisk, which include Nüshu, Tifinagh, the Samaritan alphabet, and the Cherokee syllabary.
“Due to shifting tides in politics, migration, armed conflict, and developmental pressures, many of these inscribed writing systems and languages are on the verge of disappearing,” Boyd wrote in a statement accompanying the exhibit. “Some are spoken or written by as few as five people.”
Boyd lives in Stowe and received his B.A. from Reed College and his M.F.A. in sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. He studied sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, and marble carving in Tinos, Greece, and in Pietrasanta, Italy.
“Delita Martin: Between Worlds” is a year-long installation in the seven large window bays extending across the front and north sides of BMAC’s building.
“In her colorful prints created from original mixed media work, Martin reimagines the identities and roles of Black women in the context of collective Black culture and African history,” said BMAC Exhibitions Manager Sarah Freeman. “Using symbols and patterns as a visual language, she redefines notions of beauty, strength, and connection to sacred space, and offers new narratives for women who have been historically marginalized.”
Martin received a B.F.A. in drawing from Texas Southern University and an M.F.A. in printmaking from Purdue University. A former member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she works full-time in her studio, Black Box Press, in Huffman, Texas. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in numerous portfolios and collections.
BMAC’s other spring exhibits include “All Flowers Keep the Light,” a group exhibition exploring the use of flowers as spiritual and emotional touchstones, and “Jennifer Mack-Watkins: Children of the Sun,” which celebrates positive representation of African American children and was inspired in part by the life of Vermont storyteller Daisy Turner.
Other exhibits include “Kenny Rivero: Palm Oil, Rum, Honey, Yellow Flowers,” a collection of the artist’s autobiographical drawings with themes including masculinity, love, depression, sexuality, Afro-Caribbean faith, Anglo-Caribbean sensibilities, and Afro-Futurism, and “Adria Arch: On Reflection,” a site-specific kinetic installation in the museum’s Mary Sommer Room.
The 10th anniversary edition of Glasstastic, BMAC’s popular biennial collaboration between elementary-age students and New England glass artists is also on display.