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Introducing 2024 Annual Theme: Creating Connections

In 2024, we explore what happens when pieces and parts come together. A single brush stroke on a canvas, a lone stitch in a textile, or a solitary paper shape may not mean much on their own. But when an artist makes connections, they create a work of art.

This is a photo of Amanda Lett
Dr. Amanda Lett, curator of collections and exhibitions at The Rockwell Museum

Bringing these works of art together can reveal new connections across time, place and theme. Art has the power to connect us to our own feelings, to people we may know and even to people we have never met. When we come together, what connections can be made for the greater good?

Hear from Dr. Amanda Lett, The Rockwell’s new curator of collections and exhibitions, on the surprising connection points through programming and exhibitions this year. And, don’t miss the inaugural Annual Theme lecture on January 25, featuring Amanda herself! Rockwell Members are invited to a post-lecture meet-and-greet.

What was the spark that inspired this year’s theme?

We chose “Creating Connections” as this year’s theme because it gets to the heart of what we do here at The Rockwell. Art is all about the connection between the work and the viewer, and it is our job as museum workers to foster that relationship.

In some cases, these connections are literal: in the multitude of threads that make up a textile or in the wide range of materials that an artist assembles to create a collage. In others, we think about art that sparks an emotion or reminds us of ourselves. This year, in particular, the exhibitions we’ve selected and the artworks we are adding to our collection really invite our visitors to bring their experiences into the galleries and connect intellectually, emotionally, or both!

Romare Bearden, The Conversation, 1979. Lithograph on paper, ed. 82/175, 18×25 inches. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2019.5

What makes this theme important to our community–why now?

Group of four adults looking at art.
Guests looking at art in the Southwest Lodge.

I think there are a lot of reasons why the idea of “Creating Connections” resonated with our team and I hope resonates with our members and visitors. We’re less than three years out of COVID-19 quarantine, and many people are still re-evaluating the way they connect with the world. Extreme ideas seem to drown out all reasonable thought and keep people apart in a way we haven’t seen before. More studies are coming out that show engaging with art can increase your mood and your overall outlook—but you have to see it in person! The “Creating Connections” theme encourages all of us to unplug, look and let a work of art take us somewhere new.

What can visitors expect to experience this year?

We have a fantastic lineup of exhibitions and programs this year! We have exhibitions, like the upcoming Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy, that use beautiful works of art to explore harder parts of American history. We have exhibitions that feature more abstract works of art that will spark discussion and require close looking. We’re also very excited to display the photographic works of William Wegman in conjunction with the Arnot Museum this Summer. I truly think there will be something at The Rockwell for every type of art lover this year.

Left: Roger Shimomura, The Enemy #2, 2016; acrylic paint on canvas, 24 x 24 x 2 inches; Courtesy
of the artist; Right: Jerry Takigawa, Citizen’s Indefinite Leave, 2017; pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag,
22 x 17 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

The Museum’s lecture series this year is designed to really complement and bring richness to the exhibitions we’ll have on view. We are also pleased to offer a variety of special post-lecture events for Silver Dollar Society and base-level Members to further engage with the speakers and artists that will be visiting The Rockwell in the coming months.

What are you most excited about in 2024?

2024 will be my first full year at The Rockwell, and I can’t wait for our visitors to see all the work we’ve been planning. I’m excited to share some of my previous work at our January lecture and to open my first exhibition at Curator at the Rockwell in the fall. I’m looking forward to working with artists such as William Wegman, Stephen Towns, and Rachel Hayes, and who knows what new works we’ll be able to acquire this year. There’s always something new happening at The Rockwell!



2024 Exhibitions

Annual Theme Gallery: Spider Woman’s Gift
January 31 – December 2024

Pieces & Parts: The Diversity of American Collage
February 2 – May 10, 2024

Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy
February 19 – May 4, 2024

Antigravity: Brilliant Cut Sky by Rachel Hayes
March 28, 2024 – February 2025

Representation and Experimentation: The Photography of William Wegman
May 24 – September 3, 2024

Stephen Towns’ Private Paradise: A Figurative Exploration of Black Rest and Recreation
September 21, 2024 – January 19, 2025

Minna Citron: Between the Spectator and the Artist
September 27, 2024 – January 27, 2025


2024 Creating Connections Lecture Series

Too Handsome For Use: Bank Note Vignettes in the Antebellum Era with Dr. Amanda Lett
Thursday, January 25, 2024

Power of Artifacts of Incarceration: The Japanese American Experience with Noriko Sanefuji
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Saving Culture in Crisis Today with Dr. Richard Kurin
Thursday, March 21, 2024

Art Inspired by Uncovered Histories with Stephen Towns
Thursday, April 18, 2024