Annual Report of the Director – 2018
Museum and Civic Engagement: Illustration as Art for Civil Society
Is there any artist who had more to say about America in all her hope and civic goodness, or her foibles and her struggles? Can you think of an artist in recent times who used their brush to mobilize public opinion and citizen action more than Norman Rockwell? Or who encouraged us to find common ground through human ideals upon which all could agree? Who taught us more about democracy and civic engagement?
Rockwell painted his times and this is the work that illustrators have done since the beginning of printed media and continue to do today. If journalism is the first rough draft of history, then illustration art serves as the first sketch at recording our history through images and leaves an indelible mark. Omnipresent, mass-media images report, reflect, define, and propel civic engagement with the world around us.
This year Norman Rockwell Museum launched the long anticipated exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Four Freedoms in the seven-city traveling exhibition, Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms. Conceived nearly a decade ago, the Museum is honored to partner with museums across the nation and with our presenting partner at the World War II Memorial, in Caen, Normandy, France, to share a story told through art — of how Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings mobilized a nation to defend freedom across the globe.
Reimagining the Four Freedoms is a companion exhibition that comprises works by artists and illustrators who responded to an invitation from the Norman Rockwell Museum to reinterpret the call for freedom today.
We are living during a time of great urgency for public understanding of the nation’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We hold the deep conviction that telling the story of America is important, and that art can communicate even more powerfully than words about the values we hold dear as a nation and the aspirational reach to achieve them.
As we reflect on the past year, and look ahead to the future, I express my gratitude to our bold, creative, and conscientious Museum leadership, Chairman Bob T. Horvath, President Alice Carter, Clerk Peter C. Williams, Treasurer John V. Frank and First Vice President Jamie Williamson, and hold sincere appreciation for all of the many ways that our Trustees lead the Museum forward; we are fortunate to have such a committed group of dynamic visionary leaders to chart the Museum’s future.
And to you – the supporters, donors, members, and volunteers who provide the essential resources that make all of the work possible – thank you for your generosity, and for walking with us into an even more exciting future. About half of the budget that maintains and grows a place like our beloved Norman Rockwell Museum comes from caring people like you. Your partnership and encouragement inspires the board and staff to even greater achievement and ensures that the public has access to exceptional art with inspiring stories to tell.
We look forward to sharing more about the Museum’s exciting developments in the months ahead, as we prepare to celebrate our 50th Anniversary.
Laurie Norton Moffatt