SVMoA Blog

2023 In Review: Directors' Best of the Year

Diciembre 26, 2023
Sun Valley Museum of Art galleries

2023 was a transformative year for the Sun Valley Museum of Art. We reopened our renovated space in June with an exceptional exhibition, Hidden Gems: Sun Valley Collects. What a treat to have so many important and outstanding works of art on view from local collectors for the entire community to see!  

2023 Street Party at the Sun Valley Museum of Art

In July, we had a fantastic street party. Over 800 people visited the museum and enjoyed live music and a pop-up performance by the dance company BODYTRAFFIC. It was a wonderful celebration of art and community.   

However, the true highlight of the year for me has been getting to know our community of engaged and curious donors, friends, students, and champions. Each of you has contributed to the advancement of our organization, and for that, I am most grateful. 

To close out the year, I have asked our Sun Valley Museum of Art programming team to share their highlights of this past year and exciting things to look forward to in 2024. 

Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a New Year filled with inspiration and creativity.

Jennifer Wells Green, Executive Director

Mexico en el Corazon

Kristine Bretall, Director of Public Programs

What I love about gathering groups of people in shared arts events is the joy, connection, and sense of community that is created when we all take in the same moments as one organism! 

Josh Ritter performing in 20203

Looking back on 2023, a few highlights for me included Josh Ritter—an incredible singer-songwriter and author from Idaho—and México en el Corazón, the community performance we brought here to Sun Valley. I was lucky enough to see Josh Ritter twice this year. His performances bring an unparalleled level of enthusiasm—definitely put one on your bucket list!  While you’re at it, put the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on your bucket list, too. 

2023 Mexico en el Corazon performance presented by the Sun Valley Museum of Art

More locally, the Museum’s performance of México en el Corazón at the Sun Valley Pavilion shined as a moment of celebration of Mexican culture and people here in the Wood River Valley. I feel so lucky that we had the opportunity to host a stop of this truly extraordinary tour of over 50 dancers and musicians from Mexico, with an audience who sang along to every song in Spanish. The support of so many community businesses and non-profits made this event possible and free for all attendees. It was a moment for all of us at SVMoA to feel gratitude and pride for our entire community.  

Installation photography of Sharing Honors and Burdens: Renwick Invitational 2023, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023, Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Photo by Albert Ting

Installation photo: Sharing Honors and Burdens Renwick Invitational 2023, photo credit Albert Ting

Courtney Gilbert, Director of Visual Arts

I have a long list of exhibitions I’m looking forward to seeing in 2024! While some of those shows are at internationally known museums, I thought I’d take this opportunity to recommend three exhibitions at museums that might not be on a lot of people’s radar.

First up is a show that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting last fall at the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC. Sharing Honors and Burden: Renwick Invitational opened last May and is on view until March 31, 2024. The tenth installment in the Renwick Invitational series, it is the first to feature all Indigenous artists, each making work that incorporates ancestral traditions into innovative works of contemporary art. Among the participating artists is Joe Feddersen (Arrow Lakes/Okanagan), who uses geometric glyphs and symbols drawn from urban imagery and Indigenous design to explore our human relationship to the environment. Joe participated in an exhibition here about a decade ago that marked the first time he experimented with casting glyphs in glass. It was exciting to see the newest version of that work, an enormous curtain of shimmering glass glyphs, hanging from the ceiling in Renwick’s galleries.

Fank Walter: To Capture a Soul at the Drawing Center in New York

Frank Walter: To Capture a Soul opens at the Drawing Center in New York on June 20 and runs through September 15, 2024. I try to visit the Drawing Center every time I visit the city. It’s a wonderful institution that redefines the way I understand what drawing is. I was introduced to Frank Walter’s beautiful drawings and painting in the first exhibition of his work, which took place a few years after his death in 2009. Born in Antigua in 1926, Walter was the descendant of both enslaved Africans and plantation owners. He had a fascinating life, with time spent managing a sugar plantation, extensive travels through Europe and the UK, and work as studio photographer. He dedicated his final years to making artwork in isolation, producing thousands of paintings and drawings, sculptures and photographs. The show at the Drawing Center will include landscapes and portraits, diagrams and botanical imagery, works inspired by his travels and by his life in the Caribbean.

Carolina Caycedo

PST ART (previously Pacific Standard Time), the major art event of Southern California, returns in September 2024 to investigate the theme Art & Science Collide. This year’s iteration features more than 818 artists participating in 50 exhibitions across the region. One I’m especially looking forward to is We Place Life at the Center at the Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) at East Los Angeles College. We Place Life at the Center is a solo exhibition of work by the Los Angeles-based Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo, who produced a film and sculpture for SVMoA’s 2022 exhibition Dams: Reservoirs, Reclamation, Renewal. The show at VPAM will continue Caycedo’s investigation into the preservation of Indigenous systems of knowledge around water and land stewardship, food, and energy. It includes Salute of the Fish, the sculpture Caycedo made for Dams, alongside other sculptures, paintings, drawings, video works, and more. And if you want to catch Caycedo’s work now, her solo exhibition Spiral for Shared Dreams is on view at MoMA in NYC until May 19, 2024.

Anne Patterson, Process Sketches, Adams, 2011

Sophie Sawyers, Director of Learning and Engagement

I thought I would take this opportunity to share my favorite ways to use art as a creative outlet inspired by the artists who came to SVMoA this year.

Inspired by our exhibition, The Color of Sound, grab some watercolors and/or crayons and oil pastels and something that plays music. Choose a song—it can be anything, though I recommend listening to something previously unfamiliar—close your eyes, listen to the music, and paint/draw what you see. What do the sounds look like?

Esther Pearl Watson's artistic process

Esther Pearl Watson, who had works on view during our Fall 2023 exhibition Sightings, sometimes uses cardboard as her canvas. Using leftover cardboard boxes, cut a piece to be your canvas. Paint a landscape and accentuate details using glitter, like Esther Pearl Watson does in her own work. Check out Watson's takeover on SVMoA's Instagram page to learn more about her artistic process.

Maiah Wynne Art & Healing Workshop at the Sun Valley Museum of Art

A wonderful way to relax during the busy holiday season is "Five-Finger Breathing," an exercise of mindful breathing that can be transformed into an art exercise. Musician Maiah Wynne, who visited Sun Valley in December, kicked off SVMoA's upcoming exhibition Bodies of Work: Art & Healing and her SVMoA Art Therapy Workshop with "Five-Finger Drawing." For this breathing and drawing exercise, place your non-dominant hand on a piece of paper. With a pencil in your other hand, trace your hand as you breathe in and breathe out. Want to keep going? Turn your hand slightly and trace it again. Turn it into a hand spiral or a design of your choice. Alternatively, draw a flower while consciously breathing in and out.