Director’s Letter

Photo of Robert Saarnio by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss CommunicationsGreetings from the University Museum, where summer sees the professional staff embarked on many projects and initiatives that will appear in coming months. As occurs annually in this season, we’ve expressed our farewells of gratitude to several student workers who have graduated following their dedicated work with us in our Visitor Services, Education, Membership, and Collections departments. And you are all aware that the Museum and Rowan Oak remain fully open twelve months a year, so please consider visits to either site in your summer plans.

I’d like to take this opportunity to call your attention to a public art experiment we launched this spring on the exterior porches of the Walton Young House. As you pass by the house you will see on its front upper wall a rendition of a Victorian-era crazy quilt by University undergraduate BFA student artist Sarah Barch — Something to Keep Warm. Sarah’s piece reflects and references not only an artifact of the historical period of this 1880 Queen Anne-style residence, but also a crazy quilt in the Museum’s Permanent Collection.

And on the front, side, and rear porches, artists Valerie Polgar and Rebekah Flake incorporated their skills in photography, electronics, and animation to create Porch RGB (Light) — each porch’s artwork imagery mirrors the town, campus, and nature direction it is facing, and each installed side of the house has a different Red, Green, and Blue colorway.

Further animating the Polgar/Flake installation are evening projections of colored moving imagery through the front bay windows of the house. These animations have created a notably dynamic visual aspect to the house in the evening hours, that has had a unique outcome — much commented upon and intriguing to viewers used to the typically darkened property.

Following on the heels of the highly successful George Tobolowsky steel sculptures exhibition of Fall 2018 / Winter 2019 — with its combination of citywide and Museum galleries-based works — we anticipate more experimentation and installation of public art pieces on the Museum and the Walton Young grounds. The trial/beta test that constitutes the Walton Young Porches Installation will remain on view through August 2019 — be sure to catch an evening view of these colored animations!

Robert Saarnio's signature
Robert Saarnio 
Museum Director