Museum Day 2021

By Louise Irvine

Museum Day was a huge success at WMODA thanks to the promotion by the Smithsonian magazine which attracted visitors from all over South Florida. The response was so great that we had to cap the number of guests to be COVID cautious. There was a steady stream of guests throughout the day and everyone wore their masks while enjoying the exhibits (with brief unveilings for the amazing photo opportunities!)

Museum Day was the culmination of National Arts in Education Week and Joyce Davis, one of our community’s leading educators, was our guest of honor. Our Dania Beach City Commissioner is a great supporter of WMODA and the role we play in educating our community. Joyce was shown around the museum by Louise Irvine, our Executive Director & Curator and met all the artists and experts participating in the event.

Sergio Gnesin, who specializes in Murano glass, introduced his selling exhibition Animalia and talked about the stars of the show including Pino Signoretto and Ermanno Nason. He shared his knowledge about Italian glassmaking techniques such as the Sommerso style. He also highlighted the importance of Venice in the history of glassmaking, specifically Murano’s influence on the contemporary studio glass movement in America. 

Continuing our celebration of Murano glass, Diane and Mauro Gennaretti presented their beautiful Italianissimo pop-up shop. Guests had fun shopping from their colorful collection of Murano glass jewelry. Each piece is commissioned from Venetian artisans to make a wearable work of art. 

Lloyd Goradesky needs no introduction to WMODA fans as he has been promoting kindness for several years with his educational project Let LOVE Guide Your Way. As well as showing small versions of his kinetic weathervanes, Lloyd launched one of his new sculptures symbolizing self-love. Everyone received one of Lloyd’s kindness buttons, which is worn pointing to the heart. To date, Lloyd has handed out over 22,000 buttons, one by one, while he advocates love and kindness through his art.

Our new Big Five Safari scavenger hunt had explorers of all ages tracking the African animals hiding around the museum. The safari leads to the Ardmore Gallery where elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, and leopards lurk in an abundance of flora and fauna presented by the ceramic artists in KwaZulu Natal. Some guests traveled specially to see the new Ardmore pieces for sale courtesy of the Pascoe Gallery and went home with some fabulous “trophies”.

Visitors of all ages were fascinated by the miniature world of Judith Rudin who introduced the staff quarters of her Victorian manor dollhouse which we have dubbed “Downton Abbey for Dolls”. Judith also talked about the new French chateau that she is building and guests enjoyed viewing both houses in the video compiled by George Hawthorn.

Several of Alex Meiklejohn’s miniature ceramics are featured in Judith’s dollhouses and it was incredible to watch him throwing the tiny works of art “off the hump” on our new potter’s wheel. Visitors were in awe of his dexterity working on a scale of 1:12 which is the traditional size for decorating dollhouses. Not surprisingly, Alex’s work was flying off the shelves of the WMODA shop, particularly his new luster designs.

The mermaid tail on loan from the 1000 Mermaids Project was a hit with all the wannabe “Little Mermaids” who also admired the “Mythical Maidens” artwork by Suzanne Barton. She photographs her muses dancing for her under the water and embellishes her canvases with acrylics and alcohol ink. Suzanne is the latest local artist to be featured in the WMODA shop.

Business was brisk in our Studio Collection where guests discovered treasures made by artists working in our community and abroad. They also enjoyed browsing and buying from our library of literary treasures. We truly appreciate our WMODA shoppers as all sales benefit the museum’s educational programs.

Thank you to the WMODA staff and volunteers including Kimberly Sheridan, Maritiza Newman, Erica Montanez, Linda Saft, Claudia Bailey, Jim Read, Betsy Kennedy, John Schussler and George Hawthorn. With everyone’s support, the Smithsonian magazine Museum Day was a great success at WMODA!