A public open house breakfast reception will be held from 8 to 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 29 for outgoing staff member Rusty Freeman, director of exhibitions and chief curator of Plains Art Museum
. Freeman has taken the position of director of visual services at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mount Vernon, Ill.
Freeman joined the staff of Plains Art Museum in August, 2001, curating more than 112 exhibitions, including Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland, which toured nationally and to Canada and presented particularly daunting technical and organizational challenges due to the nature of the large sculptures and distances involved.
During his time in Fargo, Freeman has served as a charter board member of the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists. He has been guest juror for exhibitions at all three local institutions of higher education and for other organizations in the region including the Minnesota State Fair and the Americas 2000 exhibition which included entries from all over the United States. He has been a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Freeman said, My eight years working at the Museum and in the upper Midwest has been a rewarding and fulfilling professional experience and a great asset to my career as a curator. (Freemans wife) Becky and I have thoroughly enjoyed living here and the people we have met. It has been an honor and pleasure working with local and regional artists, bringing their stories and experiences to the Plains in order to relate how their art and poetry can say something to us all. The exhibitions we were able to bring in from around the country were only possible because of the professional staff here, and I am honored to have been a part of the team.
Colleen Sheehy, Plains Art Museum director/CEO said, We are sorry to see Rusty move on but happy for this new opportunity for him. In my nine months here, Ive had many stimulating conversations about art, exhibitions, collections and ideas with Rusty. He has been a strong link to artists from this area. We will continue to foster those valuable relationships. Rustys accomplishments include organizing landmark exhibitions of the work of photographer Wayne Gudmundson, painter Walter Piehl and sculptor Duane Hanson. Hes exposed our community to many new and emerging artists from the region in the many Art on the Plains juried exhibitions. Importantly, too, he has helped to strengthen our collection of more than 3,000 objects to represent art from the Northern Plains and also from the national level. We wish him the best in his new position and plan to build on the foundations hes laid during his eight years of service at Plains Art Museum.
Freeman was formerly the curator at the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, Tenn., where he was also an instructor at the Virginia Commonwealth University and held leadership positions in the graphic arts community. He has published and lectured extensively on American and contemporary art throughout the United States. He received his Master of Arts in art history from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from the University of Tennessee.