Monday, May 9, 2011

Our visit to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and St. Gregory's Abbey

We had our first day of shooting at the wonderful Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art with their extensive and interesting collection of art. Our first interview was with Dane Pollei, Director of the museum and he talked about how the museum began due to the efforts
and inspiration of the talented Father Gerrer, a Benedictine Monk who travelled the world collecting for the purpose of founding a museum with education as it’s primary
mission. Dane Pollei, with his passion for art and his talented staff are carrying on that mission masterfully. Father Gerrer was a very fine artist in his own right and was commissioned to do a portrait of Pope Pius the 10th which is in the collection. He executed it in a style very similar to Tintoretto. The museum also has a portrait of Michele Suriano, Venetian Ambassador painted by Il Tintoretto, the painting style of which is very close to Father Gerrer's or vice versa. The museum collection is extensive including a very fine selection of Egyptian art, early Renaissance, Contemporary etc.

Interviewing Dane Pollei with Tutu the mummy in the foreground

Interviewing Dane is front of Father Gerrer's portrait of Pope Pius the 10th

Our next interview was with Donna Merkt, Education Director at the museum. She has created very innovative educational programs linking the collection of the museum not only with art but also history, science, math, reading, ecology etc. We are looking forward to collaborating with her on educational programs that will compliment the documentary and the exhibition that will accompany it. 

Interview with Donna Merkt

One of Donna's favorite paintings to talk about with the visiting students is "The Adoration of the Magi" by Guilio Romano because it contains some strange and surprising out of place elements including a troll very similar to the one that sent the character of her father all over the world in the french movie "Amelie". 

As I mentioned in a previous blog the grounds also include St. Gregory's Abbey where we are staying. We listened to Brother Isidore play on a variety of his native american flutes. He also makes his own flutes out of PVC which remarkably have a lovely sound.

We take a walk around the grounds to connect with some of the other sustainable, community activities that the monks engage in.

Brother Simian shows us the beehives and his work on the gardens....

We look at Brother Andrew's detailed wood work and visit the greenhouse he tends.

Brother Kevin is the inventor among the monks and takes trips across the country on his vacation time on his unique recycled motorcycle made from all kinds of discarded materials.

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