I am fortunate enough to share the same hometown with a beautiful museum. The museum, Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute is located in Central New York. I recently viewed an exhibit that I wanted to share in this space of mine. Rita Lombardi, is a professor at Pratt MWP College of Art and Design. Pratt MWP is an extension of Pratt IN state in New York City. Museums across the country and world showcase exhibits that draw thousands to view them. What makes Rita Lombardi’s exhibit stand out to me? It was all about libraries.
Lombardi’s exhibit consists of photos from libraries across the country. Ask anyone to define or describe a library and you may get several different versions of what a library is. This exhibit found a few common themes and aimed to capture the magic and wonder of libraries that are often found in the details.
Photos of cozy reading nooks invite the viewer to sit down and escape into a book and forget the world around them. Photos of bookshelves and book carts chock full of colorful books beg for someone to find a different world between the pages of the book.
As we know, libraries are no longer only about books and reading. Though much can be learned form a book, learning also comes in the form of play and interaction. Unique children’s areas are captured; waiting to be filled with children using their their imaginations. Many patrons come to the library to use computers. Internet access is a crucial service that many libraries provide; allowing their patrons a means to connect with anyone in the world. Resources are literally at your fingertips. Lombardi captured a library’s computer section in one of her photos.
I recently read an article on PBS that asked the question, do we need libraries if we have the Internet? It’s a great article, and one that I encourage you to read. You may be wondering, how does this tie in with Rita Lombardi’s museum exhibit? In my opinion, it is easy for many to equate libraries with books and reading and little else. Lombardi’s exhibit captures some of the essence of libraries. The spaces, the details, the wonder; they all evoke a feeling of nostalgia and community and escape. The photos draw you in. Hopefully those that view them and haven’t been to a library in awhile may be drawn back into one. The photos serve as a reminder or even proof, that libraries offer ore than books. Computers, play areas, reading nooks fill libraries across the country; all nestled within different and unique communities.
Often we take what we see through our own eyes for granted. What a treat to see something from someone else’s eyes. The talent of an artist, in my opinion, is their ability to take something we see everyday and make into something we can view with awe and wonder all while creating a sense of nostalgia. That’s what this exhibit did for me.
This week’s course notes discussed the power of social publishing and the various content forms. The internet is full of blogs, webinars, and social media posts. Videos and courses can be viewed with ease. Perhaps you don’t live near Central New York yet you want to view this exhibit. Through the power of the internet and social media sites you can view this collection in the comfort of your own home through the photographer’s own website or through the museum’s Twitter feed (below) or Facebook page.
Photographer, Rita Lombardi, will discuss her current exhibition, On Libraries, noon tomorrow. Free and open to the public. pic.twitter.com/ieofxXHm02
— MWP Arts Institute (@MWPAI) November 10, 2016
Perhaps this post feels a bit discombobulated and random, yet I was happy to see a topic I love (libraries) being shared so beautifully in person and readily available through the internet and social media for those interested.