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AIC opens doors. Big, heavy, glass doors.

MAY 17, 2012

We like art. A lot. So when a recent road trip brought us through Worcester, we decided to stop by the Worcester Art Museum and see what all of the fuss was about. (And in case you haven't been privy to the fuss, there's fuss.) Unfortunately, we showed up on a Tuesday - when the museum shuts its doors to the public and takes a breather. We hung our heads; we shuffled our feet dejectedly; we badgered the very nice woman at the front desk mercilessly until she "made some phone calls." After throwing around business cards like Tootsie Rolls at a parade, our tenacity and unabashed pouting paid off!

Enter Allison the Awesome (we made that up, not her). Allison came down from her office in the marketing department and cheerfully offered to show us around the place. She unlocked doors, flipped on light switches, and gestured casually at works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and the like...as we swooned.

In the museum's Renaissance courtyard, we stood in awe of artist Charline von Heyl's 17' by 64' mural, which presides over the courtyard's classic architectural design. Von Heyl's work finds its inspiration in another of the museum's exhibitions: Ellsworth Kelly's 1961 abstract expressionist painting, Orange White. Von Heyl's interpretation not only explicitly references Orange White, but by turning the painting on its ear and making the playful orange"lozenges" vertical and not horizontal, it also draws on the arches that form a colonnade around the courtyard's perimeter. And all of this looks down on a meticulously restored Roman mosaic floor from the early part of the 6thCentury AD. Postmodern much? We know - we're dorking out a bit. Suffice it to say, it looks cool.

Before waving Worcester a fond farewell, we took Allison's parting advice and drove by the Higgins Armory Museum. We're sure that the suits of armor, maces, and jousting swords to be found inside are impressive - but we were sufficiently captivated by the building's metal and glass exterior, as though King Arthur had decided to build his fortress on the set of the latest Batman movie. An impenetrable wall of steel and rivets said to us, "Thou shalt not enter...without paying the special student admission fee of $9." So, we took a quick photo and back onto the Mass Pike.

Not bad for a brief stop in New England's second-largest city. FYI, you can get from Springfield to Worcester in exactly one hour by car, or take the Peter Pan bus for $19 each way. Take a daycation! For more info, check out these links: www.worcesterart.org; www.higgins.org; www.peterpanbus.com.

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