orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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May 16, 2013

Stark Museum to host book discussion

ORANGE — The Stark Museum of Art, located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, Texas, will host a Book Discussion of Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Organized in relation to the Museum's exhibition Wild Beauty: The New Mexico Setting and to the Southeast Texas Big Read program, this event offers the public an opportunity to discuss the novel while looking at the paintings by Southwestern artists that feature New Mexico as the subject matter. The Book Discussion program is included with regular admission to the Museum.  For more information, call 409.886.ARTS (2787) or visit www.starkmuseum.org.

Elena Ivanova, the Museum's Chief Educator, will lead the discussion and will provide insights into the book for those not familiar with it. For greater participation, attendees are encouraged to read the book in advance and review discussion questions on the Museum's website. Questions are available online by clicking the Events tab and viewing the Wild Beauty page. Information about the content of the book also is available on the National Endowment for the Arts website at http://www.neabigread.org/books/blessmeultima/readers02.php. Book discussion participants will have a chance to win a door prize: a southwestern potted plant grown by horticulturalists at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

This event is scheduled in celebration of International Museum Day, which is a special moment for the museum community. Established by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1977, International Museum Day encourages public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society.  In 2012, more than 32,000 museums from 129 countries on five continents participated in the event. The theme for International Museum Day of 2013 is Museums (memory + creativity) = social change.  

"The idea that a social change is fostered by memory and creativity strongly resonates with the theme of Bless Me, Ultima," commented Ivanova. "The principal characters of the novel, old medicine woman, Ultima, and a 10-year old boy, Tony, epitomize the preservation of cultural legacy and the importance of searching for 'one's own truths'."

Ivanova noted that the mission of museums is to also help people to build a better future by educating them about the past.  "The exhibition Wild Beauty is the Stark Museum's tribute to Rudolfo Anaya's seminal novel," she said.  "I am excited to hear what people from the community think about connections between the paintings by Southwestern artists and the book."

Both the Book Discussion of Bless Me, Ultima and the exhibition Wild Beauty are events of the Southeast Texas Big Read. The Big Read is a project of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Stark Museum of Art is a non-recipient partner.

Located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, Texas, Stark Museum of Art is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission is free for STARK Cultural Venues members. Admission fees for the Stark Museum of Art are $6.00 for adults; $5.00 for seniors (age 65 and up), students (with ID), and youth (age 10-17); $2.00 for children (age 4-9); and free for toddlers (age 3 and under).  Group tours are available by advanced registration.

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