What were the MAO staff’s favourite moments of 2019?

As we dive into the new year, the Modern Art Oxford team have been reminiscing about their favourite moments from 2019. One theme that kept coming up was how much we’d gained from speaking to our visitors and collaborating with incredible people. Thank you to everyone who makes Modern Art Oxford what it is. It’s been a wonderful year.

It was radiant in so many ways 

Making the Same Road, Different Road Oxford film with young people and artist-filmaker, Penny Woolcock was on one of the hottest days of the year. Behind the scenes that day we ate a lot of ice pops in Blackbird Leys, and we ate our lunch in the shade of The Sheldonian before being shooed away by the security guard. It was a brilliant day that was radiant in so many ways – sun rays, brilliant young people, a unique experience all round – and a great short film as a result.

– Emma Ridgway, Head of Programme, Chief Curator

An uplifting story 

I had a really uplifting conversation with a customer in the shop a while back. She bought a purse by one of our local makers, Maud van den Broecke for a hike she was doing of the Appalachian Trail in the USA. She told me how doctors had told her that she would be in wheelchair by now. To celebrate the fact that she was still perfectly mobile she was doing the hike. And Maud’s purse will be with her for the journey!

– Shona Ritchie, Retail and Visitor Services Manager

A chat with a proud young artist

I had a lovely interaction with a primary school child just today. She was reaching and threading using our big weaving wall in the Creative Space. She said proudly, “This is my second one” as, smiling, she threaded a reflective gold stripe through the holes in the mesh proudly.

– Najia Bagi, Creative Learning Assistant

The little things 

I love the Creative Space this year and I’ve seen lots of amazing creations occur. One night when I was locking up, I assumed the people I’d seen earlier in the afternoon had left, but they were still there painting with watercolours – they had been there all afternoon. It’s those little things that make the job feel so worthwhile.

– Helen Shilton, Head of Operations and Visitor Services

Brilliantly diverse conversations 

The meandering conversations I’ve had about so many subjects with people both on and offline stick in my mind. Perhaps most memorably, I met a group of women medieval scholars from Oxford University this autumn. Their historical insights really enhanced my personal experience of Kiki Smith’s tapestry and sculpture works. Read the ‘medievalist’s’ blog post on the website if you haven’t already, it’s wonderful.

– Andrée Latham, Acting Communications and Marketing Manager

Getting away from it all 

This summer, I was grateful to have the opportunity to travel to the Venice Biennale with our supporters. A few memorable moments included getting lost in the city’s winding streets with no phone signal, but the beautiful sunsets and fantastic company made it all worth it.

– Alice Williams, Development and Fundraising Officer

A meditative, transformative moment 

A highlight this year for me was Jonathan Packham’s performance of his commissioned piece, Copper House Music. I found it a really meditative, transformative moment in the gallery, watching the performers and audience weave gently through the space with the music.

– Sara Lowes, Curator, Creative Learning

Happy new year everyone!

The Modern Art Oxford Team

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