The lintels were donated to the San Francisco Asian Art Mseum by a collector after they were illegally exported from Thailand 50 years ago.Two hand-carved stone lintels dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries were returned to the Thai government on Tuesday. (May 25)
After a year of multiple catastrophes, the Masur Museum in Monroe is open again.
The museum is currently hosting a dual exhibition for its grand reopening celebration, which kicked off with a reception on May 27.
The exhibition is a special one for Evelyn Stewart, director of the Masur Museum, after being closed for a year for two reasons: the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a tornado, which hit the area on April 12, 2020 and caused significant damage to the historic building.
“We are so excited to be able to be open. It feels surreal,” Stewart said. “We’ve gotten so used to just working behind the scenes and getting prepared for this moment, and now here it is. We’re open to the public, people are coming through our doors and they’re getting to enjoy the exhibitions we have on our walls. It’s really thrilling.”
The exhibition Letitia Huckaby: parish examines the landscape of the rural South, the realities and longings of a neglected culture, and the hopes and dreams passed on to future generations.
It draws heavily from Huckaby’s series “40 Acres… Gumbo Ya Ya,” which consists of images taken in rural Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and framed in vintage embroidery hoops. Also featured are pieces from Huckaby’s “Shop Rags” series, and a multi-media quilt titled Mississippi Mud.
The other exhibition features Lisa Qualls, who grew up in Louisiana and has spent much of her adult life travelling across the South. She is especially interested in identity and culture – these essential human elements that define individuals and develop groups. This exhibit features 22 graphite portraits on white clay board recently donated by the artist to the Masur Museum’s permanent collection.
The havoc caused by the tornado to the building, a modified Tudor estate built as a private residence in 1929 featuring Indiana limestone and Pennsylvania blue slate, was extensive. Most of the roofs on the property were damaged heavily, along with the gutters and downspouts, several of the hand-glazed windows were smashed, five HVAC units were destroyed and several trees on the property were lost.
The large collection of artworks were spared, thanks in large part to the immediate response to the tornado, which hit on Easter Sunday.
“It took a while, but it was a really big job,” Stewart said. “There are still a few minor things to do but we’re back in business, so we’re happy about that.”
The museum was not idle during the shutdown. It hosted the 58th annual Juried Competition off-site at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum.
Stewart said the repairs to the storm damage was completed just in time for the re-opening.
“They literally just finished construction yesterday (May 26),” she said. “The roof had been done for quite some time, but they had to repair some of the gutters, and that was finished yesterday. We have a couple more things that we need to address, but nothing major.”
The museum is hitting the ground running, with exhibitions scheduled through August of 2023 and a full schedule of summer arts camps.
The current exhibition will be on display at the museum until Aug. 7. Huckaby was unable to attend the opening of her exhibition, but will appear at the museum on Aug. 3 for a closing reception and artist talk.
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