Museum exhibit asks: Can shoes be artful objects?
Inspired by the success of its most recent Bates bedspread exhibit, Museum L-A began the process of curating their newest gallery exhibit featuring shoes over one year ago. The plan for the exhibit was three-fold: highlight Auburn’s historic shoe industry, explore the techniques and terms that accompany shoes, and acknowledge the aesthetic beauty of shoe designs.
In response to a call for donations of shoes that the museum sent to local news outlets, Marilynn G. Barr, an artist from North Carolina, contacted the museum’s Collections and Exhibits coordinator to see if the museum would be interested in showcasing her astounding collection of ceramic shoes. One year later, Museum L-A is thrilled to announce that her shoes will be on display in the gallery for three months this summer.
Barr’s collection, “The First Shoe Collection,” is made up of 60 ceramic shoes fashioned using vintage shoe lasts from the 1940s and ‘50s. All of the shoes are singles (reminiscent of Cinderella’s abandoned shoe), are vastly different in design and color, and were recently part of an exhibition in New York City. The collection begs the question: Can shoes be artful objects?
“At the beginning of this curation process, we had always flirted with ideas of how to infuse this exhibit about an everyday object with art and design, so when Marilynn reached out to us we jumped at the chance to include her collection at some point during this exhibition,” explained Emma Sieh, Collections and Exhibits coordinator.
The public is invited to attend a free event from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 14, to view these beautiful shoes and meet their ingenious creator. Travelling from Greensboro, North Carolina, Barr will lead the evening in an artist’s talk and answer questions about the process of crafting these works of art. Light refreshments will be served and the public will have a chance to tour the rest of the “Footwear: From Function to Fashion” exhibition.
“The First Shoe Collection” will be on display in the Museum L-A gallery until mid-September.
Museum L-A is located in the Bates Mill Complex at 35 Canal Street in Lewiston, Maine. Its hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Special tour requests and large group tours outside of these hours are available by appointment. Call 207-333-3881 or email email@example.com for more information.