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“Global Encounters in Early America’’ Presented in Cantor Art Gallery

News Co-Editor

Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 20:02

   On February 20, the Cantor Art Gallery, located in O’Kane Hall, presented its newest exhibition entitled “Global Encounters in Early America.” Patricia Johnston, Rev. J. Gerard Mears, S.J., Chair in Fine Arts, and students curated the event. The exhibition will last until April 6, 2014.

   The exhibition, “Global Encounters in Early America,” primarily focuses on direct trade with the United States, China, and Asia after the Revolutionary War. The exhibition further explores how interactions with other cultures affected American arts and the knowledge early America possessed.

   Maps, atlases, engravings, and book illustrations, from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, were included in the exhibition. American merchants utilized these tools in order to aid them in their endeavors. Significant objects from the Worcester Historical Society, Old Sturbridge Village, and the Rhode Island Historical Society help illustrate the impact Asian creativity had on the American lifestyle, including architecture and home décor. Some objects on display include Chinese and English silks and ceramics as well as Caribbean mahogany, and others that commemorate the importance of global trade networks during Early America.

   “Global Encounters in Early America” also delves into the notion of America as an international trading post. Global merchandise was common in seaports and rural areas. One example of Early America’s international trade dominance is the recreation of an afternoon tea party. This tea party recreation brings together various materials from over the world. Previously, Asian tea was poured from a silver pot originating from South America into Chinese porcelain teacups and then sweetened with sugar from islands, including Barbados. The tea table was of British creation and made from Caribbean Mahogany, further emphasizing and solidifying Early America’s strong roots in global dominance.

   The American Antiquarian Society, which is a national research library that houses printed material from the colonial period through 1876, and Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum that recognizes life in early New England, provided Johnston and her students the ability to explore their collections in accordance with a curatorial seminar in the fall of 2013. Johnston received an award from the Terra Foundation for American Art in order to support the exhibit, along with an anonymous donation in memory of Judith Kaseta Menges ’88, a graduate of the college who majored in visual arts.

   The Cantor Art Gallery was founded in 1983 by Iris and B. Gerald Cantor. The gallery serves as an integral source for Holy Cross students and faculty to catch a glimpse into historical and contemporary public exhibitions that further correlate with the ideals of a liberal arts education.

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