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Golden Age exhibit at the Sanborn House – A beautiful and compelling collaboration

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By Hilda Wong-Doo

A closed building under construction hasn’t stopped the Griffin Museum’s Executive Director Crista Dix and her team from presenting art this summer. It’s literally everywhere - on the sidewalks and parks of downtown Winchester and at satellite locations such as WinCAM, the Jenks, Boston’s Lafayette City Center Passageway, and virtually. One new Winchester location is the Sanborn House and Cultural Center.

The Golden Age exhibit at the Sanborn House with works by Alanna Airitam should not be missed. The combination of Alanna’s portraits, inspired by classic Dutch portraiture, displayed against the restored woodwork of the Sanborn House enhances both on multiple levels. 

Associate Curator, Ally Cirelli curated this exhibit. When asked why she selected these pieces, she wrote, “I have long admired Alanna's work for its luminosity and beauty, and also for its critical engagement with photography, race, and the history of art. The majesty of her sitters seemed perfect for the space visually, and the messaging seemed even more resonant. When I look at one of her portraits, I think about how infrequently I see a non-white person on the walls of a place like Sanborn House. As viewers, we are urged to consider who holds the majority of financial power in our country, often at the expense of others. Airitam’s work reclaims these lost narratives, challenges the status quo, and celebrates the joy of Black culture and artistry. 

Asked about the exhibit, Electra Govoni, President of the Winchester Historical Society wrote, “It’s been a true pleasure to partner with the Griffin Museum and bring the Golden Age exhibit to the Sanborn House.   The work of Alanna Airitam is beautiful and powerful and has been a lovely addition to the walls of the Sanborn House this summer.   As a historic society, we seek to preserve our local culture and heritage, but we also seek to educate and open doors for broadening perspectives and gaining insights by looking at the world through a different lens. The artistry of Alanna’s photos has given us the opportunity to do just that this summer.”

This collaboration is the result of two Winchester Cultural District partners demonstrating shared community during one of the quarterly meetings. Crista Dix mentioned that the Griffin was going to be closed for the summer and Electra Govoni, President of the Winchester Historical Society, knowing that the Sanborn is quiet during the summer, offered a space for Crista and team to exhibit. This beautiful collaboration closes soon, and it is free and open to the public. Don’t miss it.

The exhibit closes on September 1. Until then it is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m or via appointment Friday and Saturday. To make an appointment email ally@griffinmuseum.org or call 781-729-1158.

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