Opening in Chicago in May 2017, the American Writers Museum will be the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Through innovative and dynamic state-of-the-art exhibitions, as well as compelling programming, the American Writers Museum will educate, enrich, provoke, and inspire the public.
In addition to hosting over 13 permanent exhibits in the museum’s six galleries, the “Changing Exhibits Gallery” will debut an inaugural temporary exhibit, the changing gallery space will feature an installation titled Palm: All Awake in the Darkness, which celebrates our founder W.S. Merwin and the capacity of writers to connect readers to nature.
This installation – sponsored by The Poetry Foundation – will create an immersive experience including a living palm forest inside the gallery, sound design with spoken words by a selection of writers and spaces for viewers to interact with poetry. The exhibit will be celebrated at a debut event on May 6th, 10 days before the museum opens to the public.
Created by the artist duo Sayler/Morris of The Canary Project, the installation will have its international debut at this space and is inspired by their time in the Merwin Palm Forest.
“When the American Writers Museum asked us to create an installation that somehow inspired in viewers an understanding of how writers can create a deeper understanding of ecology and the place of humans within it, we immediately thought of W.S. Merwin,” said Ed Morris of The Canary Project.
“William has been an inspiration and a source of deep engagement for us for many years. No poet better exemplifies the spirit and state of consciousness to which we aspire. The work we are making would not be possible without our visit to Merwin’s garden/forest and the generosity of both William and Paula and the Merwin Conservancy.”
When W.S. Merwin learned about the development of the American Writers Museum, he called it an idea that is “long overdue”.
He continued, “the literate world has known and prized American writers since the generation of Emerson and Thoreau. Whitman and Emily Dickinson have influenced poets and readers in English and in translation into many languages. The great current continues, and a museum honoring and portraying American writing would be an honor to the suffering and vision from which our literature came.”
The Merwin Conservancy’s board and staff have been enthusiastically assisting in the development of the exhibit with the creators and connecting with museum staff to plan partner events and outreach efforts around the museum’s opening. In addition, the Conservancy has become an official Museum Affiliate, and will continue to support the mission of the American Writers Museum for years to come.
SAVE THE DATE:
Screening & Discussion: Even Though the Whole World is Burning
Featuring filmmaker Stefan Schaefer
Monday, May 8th
Film Row Cinema at Columbia College
RSVP & Details here.