Monday, April 11, 2011

Dane Pollei, Director/Chief Curator, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Dane Pollei is the Director and Chief Curator of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma.


Founded in 1919, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is one of the oldest museums in the state of Oklahoma. Father Gregory Gerrer, for whom the museum is named, was a Benedictine monk of considerable artistic talent. During Father Gerrer's travels to Europe, Africa and South America, he collected objects of artistic and ethnological value.

The museum's permanent collections include Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects; art from the Renaissance through the early 20th century; and large holdings of Native American African/Oceanic and Eastern cultural artifacts. In addition, the museum offers exciting special exhibitions throughout the year.

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is sponsoring and collaborating with us on our Oklahoma show from The Creative-Native Project, "The Artist's Process, Going Native in Oklahoma". We have Dane Pollei to thank for this with his understanding and support of artistic and educational projects. He is one of those rare sincere individuals in the arts who truly cares about artists, art and education rather than the politics of art. He is still saavy about grants, foundations, fundraising but with great heart and caring. Originally from Wisconsin where he went to Beloit College and studied anthropology directing a museum with the focus of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is a perfect fit for his skills and vision. He was formerly Executive Director of the Brevard Museum of Art in Melbourne, FL., Director for Administration at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Executive Director Kenosha County Historical Society and Museum, Director/Curator of the Freeport Art Museum and Cultural Center in Freeport , IL as well as being on the School Board in Kenosha, WI reflecting his great interest in education. He and Donna Merkt, his director of education, have focused on bringing more educational programs and schools to the museum through innovative programming and  hugely increased attendance. 
We are so excited to have this opportunity to do this documentary because of the support of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. With the enormous amount of content I am finding as  I research for this show, it will become a series of two to four shows rather than a single show. Besides the airing of the shows in the fall of 2011, I have been talking with Dane about doing an exhibition at the museum in fall 2012 with an installation by myself and my husband and co-producer based on what we find in our travels. I suspect my contribution will have a lot to do with forests and the Tallgrass Prairie, my passions.
The exhibition will also include the work of the creative individuals we interview in the programs along with educational projects and programs that we will work on with Donna Merkt that will enhance and elaborate on the mission of promoting art, creativity, mentoring, cultural preservation and ecological sustainability of the Creative-Native Project. 

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