The corner of Small and East Streets in Pittsboro is a handmade hive of activity.
Salvaged windows allow natural light to wash newly installed walls made of reclaimed wooden planks that glow a translucent milky white. A rusted tin ceiling above and a large sliding door bring to mind rural barns. Modern wiring and flooring appropriate for high traffic areas are being installed now.
The Small Museum of Folk Art — Pittsboro’s first art museum — is taking shape.
In early August, the collection of art by self-taught artists from across the country will be slowly revealed in this space. When school starts, students will tour the museum with an intentional focus on education.
Dave Clark, executive director of The Small Museum of Folk Art, is eager to spark a passion for folk art culture in young minds. To do that, The Small Museum of Folk Art was awarded a Grassroots Arts Grant by the NC Arts Council through the Chatham Arts Council.
Clark recently shared the bigger vision of the museum, “The [Grassroots Arts] grant money has gone to develop [The Small Museum of Folk Art’s] arts education platform. As we are a new non-profit, this is the first phase of development, Clark said. “We wanted teachers to feel that they were a part of the Small Museum of Art from the ground up.”
“Meetings have already been conducted with art teachers from across the county to get their input.” Clark added.
A professional curriculum designer hired by the museum asked Chatham County educators what the museum could do to help them convey concepts of art, geography, history, and social studies to their students. Teachers suggested ways that tours of the museum could be designed and scheduled to focus in timely ways on academic subjects being discussed in the classroom. Interactive
“We also have in process an integration of our web site database with the education program so we can provide a seamless experience for students,” Clark added.
The online database of the museum’s collection will include a photo of each piece of art, it’s original home, information on the artist, and the work’s chain of ownership (provenance). The database may also include videos. The database will be available for use by students to help them research essays, artists, styles, and projects inspired by what they see at the museum.
Though this broader educational work is being created to enhance opportunities for Chatham 4th graders primarily, students of life are welcome to stop in and see the work of 30+ self-taught artists starting in early August.
Finishing touches are being put on the museum with the addition of display cases and signage now. Works of art will be added to the museum until the space is full. The 400+ pieces that make up the collection will require the museum to rotate pieces as is necessary over time.
Like all compelling folk art, a visit to The Small Museum of Folk Art will be greater than the sum of it’s parts, so be sure to Go See This!
• Event Host: The Small Museum of Folk Art
• Day & Time: Wed.-Sat., 7:30am-2pm & Sun. 9am-2pm
• Location: 219 East Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312
• Cost of Admission: Financial donations accepted
• Parking: In front on East Street and on the southwest and northeast corners adjacent to the Small B&B.
• Accessible: Yes