The First 30,000 Years
Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex 2009
As the current exhibit director for MSCAF I am pleased to present a brief overview of this year’s fair-time exhibit about the making of art. I have been connected with the arts for my whole life and grew up spending my summers at the fair while my father was creating exhibits in what was then called the Fine Arts building. In the early 1900s the name was changed in his honor to the Millard Sheets Gallery. I have been on that board of directors for the past number of years, and became the exhibit director three years ago when we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of dad’s birth with an exhibit honoring his life as an artist, muralist and architectural designer. His great love for horses became the stimulus for the 2008 exhibit, Hoofprints.
This year we celebrate the arts in the first of two consecutive exhibits about the processes used for the making of art through the ages, starting when humans first began creating. My goal is to construct a setting in which visitors to the gallery can see and understand how people from past times and cultures shaped the raw materials from the earth into art forms. At first they used only their hands, but soon they were inventing the tools and methods to better create expressions from their own imaginations. This combination of hands and imagination is what sets humans apart from any other creatures on earth. While other living things may have high degrees of intelligence, none possess the uniqueness of imagination.
We end this year’s exhibit in the early 1700 at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, where we will pick it up next year and bring it to modern times. This exhibit will include the primary mediums and techniques used in the artistic expressions of ancient world civilizations, through the Middle Ages, and to the end of the Renaissance. I will continue to post updates on our web site and I encourage comments regarding the concept and development of this exhibit, and about exhibits of the last two years, or perhaps ideas for future fair shows.
Best and thanks, Tony Sheets