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BMAC to honor artist Aurora Robson with inaugural “Award for Service to Art & Humanity”

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will present its inaugural 'Award for Service to Art & Humanity' to artist Aurora Robson at the museum’s annual gala on Saturday, August 19.
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The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will present its inaugural Award for Service to Art & Humanity to artist Aurora Robson at the museum’s annual gala on Saturday, August 19.

“BMAC believes in the power of art and artists to imagine new possibilities, to communicate across political and cultural divides, and to encourage empathy and collaboration,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. “We have great admiration for artists who apply their creative talents in an effort to make the world a better place, and we seek to support and encourage them in whatever ways we can. That’s the fundamental motivation behind this new award.”

Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson was born in Toronto and raised in Maui, Hawaii. She lived, studied, and worked in New York City for two decades before relocating to her present home in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her sculptures have been exhibited and collected internationally, and she has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She recently completed a major public art commission for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia.

According to Lichtenfeld, as the museum’s staff and Board got to know Robson and her work in the course of developing the exhibition “Human Nature Walk,” which opened at BMAC on June 24 and is on view through February 11, 2024, they were inspired by the artist’s longstanding commitment to developing creative solutions to the pernicious problem of plastic pollution.

“I believe our responsibility as humans is to study, honor, and maintain the complex balance of life on earth, and to tinker with the systems we have put into place so that they serve life, rather than destroy it. While my work is a call to action to break our negative behavioral patterns and to change attitudes toward perceived disposability, it is also a love poem dedicated to the intersection of nature and culture, with the aim of softening the edges between,” said Robson.

Over the past 20 years, Robson has refined a variety of techniques for turning plastic debris into art, transforming harmful waste destined for the landfill or the ocean into objects of beauty and lasting value. “Human Nature Walk” represents a compendium of those techniques, ranging from sewing and welding to injection-molding and 3D printing.

Robson’s commitment to stemming the tide of plastic pollution extends beyond her own artistic practice and includes supporting fellow artists engaged in similar work, through Project Vortex, which she founded in 2009; creating educational resources for students and schools, such as Trash Tetris 101; and speaking powerfully and often about the capacity of art and artists to help solve one of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

“One of the remarkable things about Aurora’s work,” said BMAC Board President Suzie Walker, “is that although it directly addresses the scary, often overwhelming topics of plastic pollution and climate change, it does so in a way that feels hopeful. I don’t mean the naive notion that ‘everything will be fine’, but rather a sense that through creative ingenuity of the sort demonstrated by Aurora, we can figure out how to solve these seemingly impossible problems.”

Annual Gala

The presentation of the Award for Service to Art & Humanity will take place during BMAC’s annual gala, which will be held at the museum on Saturday, August 19, at 6 p.m. According to the museum’s website, the gala raises vital funds for BMAC’s contemporary art exhibitions, always-free admission, transformative education initiatives, and dynamic public events. Tickets to the gala are available at brattleboromuseum.org.

Brattleboro Museum & Art Center

Founded in 1972, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is free. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.

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