Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO
I am gonna borrow a quote from the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut. “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside of you, to make your soul grow.” (italics added) The Springfield Art Museum is in the business of growing souls. Heavy, I know, but I think it’s true.
The Springfield Art Museum has paintings. Good paintings. It has all the stuff a museum should have. They have other things too.
Things they have:
- Pottery classes
- American regionalism
- Sewing classes
- Metalwork and jewelry classes
- Asian porcelains
- Free admission
In my experience, when a person or a group has stored up goods or value, it is always guarded. And access is rarely, if ever, free. The only thing that can account for the Springfield Museum’s odd behavior regarding its goods is that they love art. And they want you to love art too. They want you to love art so bad it hurts.
This isn’t L.A. or N.Y. Our Springfield Art Museum isn’t a sprawling, six-story warehouse. We are a small to medium sized Mid-Western town. To find any art museum in our town is curious. To find such a well-curated museum in our town is a revelation.
For the unsure, I beg you not to be too worried. I know that lots of things called “art” are anything but art. I also know that people who enjoy museums can also tend to get what my wife calls “artsy-fartsy”. The Springfield Art Museum isn’t like that. They have several great displays featuring art from many fine local elementary schools. We have a lot of homegrown talent.
It’s strange that as kids we love drawing and cutting and painting and coloring and all kinds of art. When we turn into adults we let all of that go. Why? So we can watch predictable sitcoms? The only art we see on the daily is the bland corporate art designed not to offend anybody. I say we get back in touch with our younger selves and look at something beautiful from time to time.
The Springfield Art Museum is situated right next to Phelps Grove Park, another hidden gem. Go to the art museum see something beautiful. Make something beautiful. Then walk out the doors and walk through the park. See another kind of beauty. Why not? It’s free!
You drive past it every day. You have driven past it a thousand times never guessing at the golden treasure contained inside. The Springfield Art Museum is a treasure hidden in plain sight and yet few ever discover the abundance within their reach. Will you be one of those who ignores their own treasure? Or will you be the one to go and claim it?