My last post ended with our staff leaving the Fort Worth Water Gardens on our way to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art on the third day of our staff retreat. First, a little background. Amon G. Carter was the founder of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a civic leader and a collector of American art. (There is much more to Amon G. Carter: for more information click here.) He died in 1955 but in his will left terms for the creation of a museum to house his collection plus other fine examples of fine American art.
Today, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art houses many fine examples of paintings and sculptures. Further, the museum educates the public through a variety of special exhibits and programs. We were fortunate enough to be there during a grammar school visit; normally, this would be a distraction if you’re just visiting for fun, but being in the field, you are always looking for ideas to incorporate into your organization. Some of the art may seem a little daunting for children to grasp; however, when given the opportunity and with the right guidance, young people can and do appreciate many subjects adults may otherwise not give them credit for understanding. I listened in on some of the instruction and conversation the children were engaged in; the educators at Amon Carter were really making the kids use their own experiences and powers of observation to convey the messages seen in the art … kudos to them!
Aside from “eavesdropping” a bit on the school children’s lesson, our staff had ample time to view the beautiful art throughout the museum. Personally, I also enjoy reading text on all the labels. This is great because you learn more about the work and an artist, but not so great when you’re pressed for time! And indeed we were as we made a short walk down to our next stop: the Kimbell Art Museum.
Before I get into the wonderful art found throughout the Kimbell, I would like to first mention the ingenious design of the main building which is the work of Louis Kahn. Completed in 1972, the structure is designed with light as the main theme. Kahn’s designed called for barrel vault ceilings with narrow plexglass “skylights” that would allow for natural light. However, in order to avoid direct light from damaging the pieces within, the natural light is disseminated by aluminum reflectors that hang directly underneath each skylight. The result is an open and bright gallery that allows for an enjoyable viewing experience of the artwork.
Speaking of the art … amazing! And so was our docent, Len Schweitzer, who knew the subject matter passionately well! The permanent collection itself is relatively small, less than 350 pieces, but – following the collections policy established by the Kimbell’s Board of Directors – the works collected into the institution are to be based on the highest quality rather than quantity. The Kimbell boasts such artists as Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Monet and Matisse, to name but a few. In addition to paintings, the museum also houses antiquities, Asian, pre-Columbian, and African pieces such as sculptures, ceramics, bronzes and more. The Kimbell is a MUST-visit when in Fort Worth. Admission is free and so is an app available for download with visual and audio information (if you do not have a pair of headphones on you, no need to worry. The Kimbell’s shop has headphones for sale at a reasonable price).
Our staff was exhausted but fulfilled with our trip to Fort Worth. You really do not know how much one’s state has to offer unless you get out there to explore. Whether you’re planning to visit Fort Worth or another city near or far, do your research to see what best fits your interests and pocket-book. So much to explore, so little time!
We’re looking forward to our next retreat in January 2016. Where we go next remains to be decided! Any suggestions?