American Folk Art Museum

Having its main campus in Manhattan and a satellite division in Queens, the American Folk Art Museum highlights the artwork of self-made and self-taught artists of the United States. Most of the museum's collection consists of items that were done by ordinary individuals with little or no formal training at all. The American Folk Art Museum provides a unique insight into the creativity of Americans dating back to colonial times. Paintings, quilts, furniture and toys define the institution's diverse collection.

History

American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum was established in the early 1960s as a mere cultural foundation that didn't quite have a large collection, commercial-style space or other essential amenities. Nevertheless, Joseph B. Martinson and Adele Earnest were determined to turn their institution into a prime space for folk art with American motifs. After leasing space for temporary galleries, they purchased some residential properties in the Upper West Side to host a growing collection. Eventually, the American Folk Art Museum moved into its current location at Lincoln Square, which was already a well-established location for high culture. The architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed a contemporary venue that would stand out in a bustling area of Manhattan. Throughout the decades, the museum has launched extensive educational and scholastic programs that appealed to folk artists in the United States of America. For example, the Henry Darger Study Center invited self-taught artists to develop their skills in a unique environment that didn't emphasise formal rigours.

Collection

More than 8,000 items make up the expanding collection of the American Folk Art Museum. A large portion of the collection includes conventional canvas paintings with traditional subjects, such as portraits of ordinary people and scenic landscapes. More than 1,500 drawings and other related publications on paper are also owned by the museum. The venue's three-dimensional artwork includes decorative figures and other installations that were once set up in residential and commercial areas. For example, beautiful animals from vintage carousels are included in the 3-D collection. Ceramics, quilts, textiles, furniture and silverware are among the other unique items that are part of the American Folk Art Museum's treasures. Located in the borough of Queens, the Collections and Education Center serves as a satellite branch of the American Folk Art Museum. Visitors have a chance to gain access to exclusive materials that reveal the history and value of folk art in the United States. A library also has archives that play key roles in academic research related to the museum's niche. Although the Collections and Education Center primarily caters to schools and universities, it welcomes all types of curious visitors. The shop at the American Folk Art Museum sells handmade products with themes that celebrate American pride and nature. Some of the organic-style items are made from unconventional materials, such as recycled metal, paper and plastic.

Visiting American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum is located at Lincoln Square, which is one of Manhattan's premier cultural points. Several NYC subway lines conveniently stop at the 66 Street-Lincoln Center station. This underground station is linked to the rest of the borough through express rapid transit. You'll also find plenty of Metropolitan Area Transportation (MTA) buses that provide direct service to Lincoln Square and the surrounding area. The intersection of Broadway and Columbus Avenue is usually busy, so it might be a challenge to smoothly pick up or drop off people at Lincoln Square. Another notable landscape that surrounds the museum is Central Park, which has hundreds of wooded acres with quaint trails and other attractions. In fact, this massive urban park is just one block away from the American Folk Art Museum.

Address: 2 Lincoln Square, New York City, NY, 10023 (Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets)

Click here to visit American Folk Art Museum official website.

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