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VOL. 128 | NO. 186 | Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Showcase

Dixon Gallery and Gardens brings back ‘Made in Dixon’

By Andy Meek

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The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is promoting the work of a distinctive group of artists for the next several weeks, elevating a fresh set of voices that might not otherwise get a chance to create something to be hung on a gallery’s walls.

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens has brought back its “Made in Dixon” program, which will be on display through Oct. 20. It showcases more than 200 works of art from more than 300 participants.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The Dixon has brought back its “Made in Dixon” program, an effort to publicly acknowledge and display the work of participants in the Dixon’s 14 educational programs in the past year. “Made in Dixon” is returning to the Dixon’s Mallory and Wurtzburger Galleries through Oct. 20, and it’s showcasing more than 200 works of art from more than 300 participants.

The art spans a variety of media categories, and the artists range from ages 2 to 100. And though they come from all walks of life, the art and artists all share a common thread.

Margarita Sandino, the Dixon’s curator of education, said the artwork presented in “Made in Dixon” reflects the gallery’s commitment to inspiring the community through the visual arts. She said it’s also the Dixon’s way of thanking the “imaginative participants” who are part of the Dixon family and who make the museum a “creative and joyful place.”

“There are samples from every single one of our programs in there,” she said of “Made in Dixon.”

The returning exhibit is a key piece among the more traditional fare the Dixon offers to the community. It also features, for example, a permanent collection of more than 2,000 objects, including French and American Impressionist paintings and German and English porcelain. It also organizes and presents eight to 10 exhibitions every year.

The museum’s education programs work hard to reach a cross-section of the community and to bring in diverse audiences. Specific programming is aimed at children, adults and outreach groups to interest them all in different facets of the arts and horticulture.

Examples of the Dixon’s programs include Reflections through Art, a program for people with dementia and their caregivers. It’s led by an art therapist and is an interactive art session that allows participants to explore art in a meaningful way.

Other examples include the Dixon’s Art to Grow program, which was started in the fall of 1999 to serve Memphis area schools. It features several units of study for a cross-disciplinary education. According to the Dixon, each visit includes a presentation on a chosen subject and hands-on activity to reinforce the lesson.

“It’s our biggest outreach program. It reaches 22,000 kids every year,” Sandino said. “It’s been around for over 10 years, and the idea is that the Dixon provides an art class for any school group that requests it that’s within 60 miles of the Dixon. It’s basically first come, first served. And during the summer we also do libraries, churches and other organizations.

“The origin of ‘Made in Dixon’ came from that. We wanted to feature some of that artwork that came from the students, because they were so talented. We did a small show, and it kind of grew.”

The Dixon also has a variety of after-school art programs, children and family programs and art therapy programs that are tailored to reach at-risk children. Given that wide selection to choose from, Sandino said visitors to “Made in Dixon” should expect walls bursting with art, color and reflections of the human condition.

“Expect a lot of color,” she said. “The walls packed full of artwork. It’s not just some here and there. It’s packed full. A lot of color, media and emotion.”

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