The Gund, the world-class teaching museum at Kenyon College, is opening a new location dedicated to art education in downtown Mount Vernon.
Housed in a restored, historic storefront at 12 E. Gambier St., The Annex will invite the local community to discover new connections to art, ideas and each other through free workshops, creative activities and events inspired by The Gund’s growing permanent collection.
To celebrate, a public ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at The Annex at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, followed by free activities and refreshments at an open house until 6 p.m. Festivities will continue Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Gund Director and Chief Curator Daisy Desrosiers said she is excited to bring The Gund to the broader community, building bridges in the process and encouraging a love of art among neighbors, families, students and lifelong learners.
“We'll explore what it means to ‘learn with art’ as a community through programs informed by our permanent collection” she said. “The Annex provides a safe space to create and express yourself, no matter your academic focus or experience with art.”
The Annex is made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation and Ariel Foundation as well as the Ohio Arts Council, Kenyon College and The Gund Board of Directors.
This weekend’s festivities will kick off with remarks from Kenyon Acting President Jeff Bowman; Mount Vernon Mayor Matt Starr; Knox County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Grubaugh; and Desrosiers. An open house will feature a caricature artist, creative activities for all, to-go art kits and doughnuts from Donna’s Delicious Dozen.
On Saturday, the sweet treats and caricature artist will be joined by a photographer who will produce free tintypes of a limited number of guests. The once-popular; inexpensive type of photography was patented by Kenyon professor Hamilton L. Smith in 1856 and involved recording images on a thin metal (not tin) plate.
Wynne Morgan will oversee all public programs at The Annex — which will include free, regular classes for all ages — and on campus on behalf of The Gund. Initial offerings at The Annex will highlight photography and watercolor painting, and there will be weekly art book storytimes for young children.
Morgan said she looks forward to working closely with the community and adjusting offerings at The Annex to enhance the already vibrant artistic scene.
Each season, The Annex will focus on one artwork from The Gund’s collection, the artist who made it, and their creative practice as a way to explore what visitors can learn about themselves and each other when they interpret art and artmaking as a community.
The first artwork to be explored will be a 2019 photograph by Dawoud Bey called “Trees and Barn,” which recently was added to The Gund’s permanent collection. Born in 1953, Bey is considered as one of the most influential photographers of his generation. His work is known for exploring American history through its urban and rural landscapes and challenging stereotypical images of historically marginalized groups.
One of Bey’s first jobs after finishing graduate school was at Kenyon’s studio art department, and his recent series, “Night Coming Tenderly, Black” — also in The Gund’s permanent collection — features images captured across Ohio.
The Annex’s hours will be Thursdays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Student associates from The Gund will assist in the Mount Vernon space, and all members of the college community can visit for free using a Knox Area Transit shuttle.
The Gund, at 101 ½ College Drive in Gambier, is free and open to the public from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays; and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.
For more information, contact The Gund at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-427-5972. This weekend’s events are free and open to all members of the Kenyon community as well as interested members of the public and media.