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Art and the Public Library

Karen Herman, president, MHL Board of Trustees, March 2002

Original Art in Memorial Hall Library


Public libraries are landmark buildings, symbolizing their importance to that city or town. Art has always been an important element of the library building. Consider the Boston Public Library and its outstanding art collection. Memorial Hall Library, while not as grand as Boston, has its own important collection, including a unique early portrait of Abraham Lincoln by Charles Barry.

Art seems to place the exclamation point on the value of the library's informational assets. It allows the viewer to visually integrate information, sometimes purely for the enjoyment of color, form or image along with the intellectual exercise of making sense of the work within the viewer's own experience. When the library's renovation was completed in 1987, new works of art were purchased with gifts from local donors to enhance both the exterior and interior spaces of the building. Four years ago, the trustees made a deliberate decision to identify and purchase the artwork of important Andover artists for the library's permanent collection. A committee was formed, including Susan Faxon, assistant director of the Addison Gallery, Tom Edmonds, director of the Whistler Museum in Lowell, MHL director Jim Sutton, Trustees Carolyn Fantini, Rusty Dunbar, and me. Since that time we have added the sculpture, Gargoyle, by Pat Keck, perched on a beam above the reference area, a painting, After Cezanne, by David Sullivan, hung in the stairwell leading to the top floor quiet space, and most recently, two paintings, Big Horse and Horse and Bear by Shane Crabtree, found in the young adult section on the main level. The work of each artist is dramatically different in its content, style and media.

We, the Trustees, believe that these new additions to our collection will greatly enhance the experience of our patrons when they use the library and add to their enjoyment of the space. We invite you to come and discover art at Memorial Hall Library.

Last updated: September 18, 2013
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