(New York, NY, November 16, 2018) The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) gave its annual Visionary Award to Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in a ceremony last evening at AFAM’s museum in New York. Established in 2008, the Visionary Award honors an individual, institution, or project that has made a unique and distinctive contribution to the field of self-taught and vernacular art. The Visionary Award is chaired by Audrey B. Heckler and sponsored by the Foundation to Promote Self-Taught Art.
“We celebrate the work that Intuit has achieved in creating a dedicated space for the appreciation, collection, and teaching of art by self-taught and outsider artists,” said Jason T. Busch, director, American Folk Art Museum. “Intuit and the American Folk Art Museum share a deep connection to artist Henry Darger, and Intuit does outstanding work championing this seminal artist in his hometown of Chicago. Intuit’s inspiring commitment to educational and community initiatives has brought the study of self-taught art to a wider audience in the city of Chicago and beyond.”
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art was established in June 1991 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting intuitive and outsider art. It offers world class exhibitions, resources for scholars and students, a permanent collection with nearly 1,200 works, the Henry Darger Room Collection, the Robert A. Roth Study Center (a non-circulating collection with a primary focus in the fields of outsider and contemporary self-taught art), and educational programming for people of all interest levels and backgrounds.
Before Audrey Heckler presented the award, remarks were given by both Farris Wahbeh, Benjamin and Irma Weiss Director of Research Resources, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Russell Bowman, Former Director, Milwaukee Art Museum and Principal, Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Chicago. Wahbeh noted that Intuit champions artists “who are making art because they have to.” Bowman reviewed the history of ground-breaking exhibitions at Intuit over the past 27 years and noted that “Intuit has a place in Chicago’s cultural landscape unlike any other – it is the only institution devoted all the time to self-taught and outsider art.”
The Visionary Award was accepted by Cleo Wilson, former Executive Director of Intuit, and Debra Kerr, Intuit’s current Executive Director. Wilson thanked the American Folk Art Museum for the honor and noted that Intuit is “small and mighty” due to the passion and commitment of its Board. Kerr noted that Intuit and the American Folk Art Museum have ongoing partnerships and that “our work together magnifies our effectiveness.” She also affirmed her belief that “museums are a place to stimulate dialogue within communities and facilitate change in society” and how Intuit has done so.
Through its programs, Intuit bolsters the nationally prominent role that Chicago artists and collectors have played in generating interest in outsider art. After spending its first few years as an itinerant organization, Intuit purchased the former Randolph Street Gallery space in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood to serve as headquarters for the organization’s expanding activities. Comprised of 12,000 square feet, the facility now includes two galleries, a performance/meeting space, the Robert A. Roth Study Center, the Henry Darger Room Collection, and a small gift shop.
Past recipients of the American Folk Art Museum Visionary Award are: Rebecca Hoffberger, Phyllis Kind, John Maizels and Raw Vision magazine, Sanford Smith and the Outsider Art Fair, Sam Farber, Lee Kogan, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and its 1982 exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980, Ruth DeYoung Kohler, and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
Photo caption (left to right): Audrey Heckler, trustee, American Folk Art Museum, and chair, American Folk Art Museum Visionary Award; Cleo Wilson, former executive director, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art; Debra Kerr, executive director, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art; and Jason T. Busch, director, American Folk Art Museum.
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About the American Folk Art Museum
Established in 1961, the American Folk Art Museum is the premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the present.