I am pleased to report an another productive summer, energized Children's Art Camp, and a summer without construction. The Museum and its grounds look beautiful. Summer exhibitions, Along the Road: Paintings of the Highwaymen and Visual Systems: The Quilter's Eye opened with a standing-room-only crowd for the preview lecture on the Highwaymen by scholar Gary Monroe, and attendance was strong throughout the summer months.
Over the summer we also equipped the Museum Store with a new point of sale computer software program, basically a data management tool that can assist not only in accurate inventory control but link the store to the Museum's membership and financial databases. With more complete data, we look forward to being able to develop strategies to improve our profit margin.
In conjunction with our new family membership benefit package, the Museum developed, and will continue to develop, new youth and family programs, which will be available throughout the year. KidZ ArtShops are designed as a drop-in gallery tour and studio activity for children age 4-11 and their families between 11am and 3pm, and Turtle Tours are aimed at Pre-K and children age 3-6 accompanied by adults. In addition, children of all ages and their families can pick up a treasure hunt and/or drawing kit for use in the galleries at the Visitor Services Desk. The KidZ ArtShops and Turtle Tours are free to members. Non-members pay just $5 per child. As with all of our programs, we would like to recieve your feedback so that we may evaluate how we are doing with regard to serving our various audiences.
In addition to our permanent collection, this fall the Museum looks forward to presenting two very different exhibitions: Simply Beautiful: Photographs from National Geographic, and Cuban Art & Identity: 1900-1950, an historic exhibition reflecting the diverse culture and history of the island of Cuba through the eyes of some of its most talented artists. Please be sure to mark your calendars with the many public programs offered in conjunction with this exhibition included in your Public Programs Guide. We will be changing many of the permanent collection works in the Stark Gallery for the fall. For conservation purposes a number of the works on paper will be "given a rest" from light exposure and stress on the rice paper hinges that fix them to their mats.
I hope you have seen the wonderful press coverage the Museum has been getting under the watchful eye of Marketing and Communications Director Sophie B. Wood. Recent editorial coverage on the Highwaymen exhibition in Vero Beach NewsWeekly, and a full page article in the Press Journal Weekend section highlighted the KidZ ArtShop and free Saturday events. As a result, the Museum enjoyed over 1,000 visitors just on that one day. We hope this is a growing visitor trend as we move into the season.
Fall term classes in the Museum Art School will be getting underway on September 30 and our ever-popular Film Studies will begin its first five-week course on Tuesday, October 1, with Jean-Louis Trintignant: A Life in Cinema.
We will look forward to welcoming you all to the Museum this fall and to celebrating our growth and development with you. Do mark your calendars for all of the forthcoming programs and events in the season ahead. Event tickets are already seeing substantial early sales and we don't want you to miss out on all your Museum has to offer.
Lucinda H. Gedeon, Ph.D.