The Guild of American Papercutters is celebrating its 30th birthday! Such milestones often urge us to look both directions.
Here, with Laurel Arts, we celebrate the art form of papercutting with a fresh exhibit in the GAP Museum gallery on the second floor. “Antique and Contemporary Papercuttings from the GAP Permanent Collection” is a blended show of recent acquisitions of “old" papercuttings, dating from the18th century to the present, mixed with contemporary examples from earlier annual exhibits. This selection of examples is united by strong traditional styles. You can see several artworks with reverential themes, including “Devotionals” made in convents during the mid 1700’s; other memorial pieces include a Fraktur (birth certificate) from 1827. The “old” pieces reflect centuries of traditional and multicultural approaches and perfectly balance the contemporary works as evidence of the art form’s historical journey.
Are you aware that right here, affiliated with Laurel Arts since 2009, we are home to the first and only American museum devoted to the art of papercutting? First time visitors to GAP exhibits are typically awed by the beauty and complexity of the hand cut paper artwork. GAP has a strong foundation. It encourages knowledge of tradition and encourages innovation through its publications, exhibits, meetings, workshops, demonstrations, and conferences, but distances among members create daunting challenges, and few paper cutters are nearby. An instructor of “museum studies” from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA. will visit the GAP Museum in mid May to begin discussion about an intern’s involvement here.
Time is behind us; time is ahead of us; and we are in the center of it. If you want to know more about these possibilities and become involved in contributing to a “work in progress”, please message me. It is time to wish GAP a Happy Birthday and to work to assure many more happy anniversaries. Meanwhile, visit this new papercutting exhibit including Jewish, Christian, and early American traditional works on the second floor of the Art Center, and sign our guest book with your comments and questions.
Happy Birthday, Guild of American Papercutters, “and many more”!
by Kathy Trexel Reed
GAP Museum V.P.